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UPDATE: After Delay, CA Senate Commitee Approves Vaccine Bill


UPDATE 9:50 A.M. -- (AP) - A California Senate committee has approved a bill that would require California schoolchildren to be vaccinated.

The Senate Education Committee voted 7-2 Wednesday on the bill by Sen. Richard Pan, a Democratic pediatrician from Sacramento, with votes from both Democrats and Republicans.

The proposal would eliminate California's personal-belief and religious exemptions so unvaccinated children would not be able to attend public or private schools.

Medical waivers would only be available for children who have health problems.

Lawmakers delayed a vote on the bill last week after some on the committee worried it would deprive unvaccinated children from receiving an adequate education. Hundreds of opponents again filled the committee room for Wednesday's vote.

The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing next week.

Tuesday, April 21 -- California’s controversial vaccine bill is up for a critical vote Wednesday – and the bill’s author is making some changes to the measure.

The author of a bill that would require California school children to be vaccinated is making some last-minute changes ahead of a critical committee vote Wednesday.

Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) says the amendments would allow unvaccinated children to be home-schooled through the public school system’s independent study program – or in multi-family groups.

“I believe that with those amendments, that will satisfy many of the concerns of my colleagues,” Pan said at a Tuesday morning news conference at a Sacramento medical museum. “And I’m optimistic that we’re going to get the bill out tomorrow.” 

One of the bill’s critics pointed out on social media that the amendments still wouldn’t help low-income and single-parent families who don’t want to vaccinate their kids but can’t afford to home-school them.

Some members of the Senate Education Committee have raised concerns that unvaccinated students would be deprived of their right to a public school education.

That prompted last week’s Education Committee vote on the measure to be delayed until Wednesday.

However, the amendments to SB 277 come too late for Wednesday's Education Committee vote, because the Senate's standing rules require two days' public notice on all committee amendments. Therefore, the bill will be put up for a vote Wednesday without the proposed changes. If the measure passes, the amendments would then be taken next week when the bill comes up in the Senate Judiciary Committee. This procedure is not uncommon in the California Legislature.

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