This week, the California state Senate health committee voted to push forward a bill that would ban parents from citing personal beliefs as the reason for opting out of vaccinations for their school aged children. According to Democrat Richard Pan, the bill’s co-author and a pediatrician, the proposed bill would continue to protect medical exemptions. Parents who would like to avoid vaccinating their children for other reasons, however, would be unable to do so if the law passes. Lawmakers supporting the bill seek to prevent “the suffering caused by vaccine-preventable diseases,” said Pan. In the state Senate, the issue is being debated as intensely as it is in other forums, and the bill still has a long way to travel before it would become law. From here, the bill will be heard by the Senate Education Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Appropriations Committee before the Assembly considers it. If it passes through those steps, Governor Jerry Brown would have to decide whether to sign or veto the controversial bill.
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