The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill on a 5 to 1 vote.
"Given the argument that education is a fundamental right in California, we need to show that there’s a compelling state interest. And that has indeed been shown, " said Democratic Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, chair of the committee.
The bill's author, Democratic Senator Dr. Richard Pan says his legislation is meant to foster a healthy school environment.
“What you can't predict is when patient zero will show up in school,” he says. “What you can do is try to make sure that people are vaccinated, and will be less likely to transmit it to others.”
But once again, the opposition to SB277 was vocal and visible in Sacramento Tuesday. Scores of parents marched around the State Capitol and lined the halls outside the hearing to speak against SB277.
They say the measure would violate people's right to informed consent to medical treatment, and it would deny unvaccinated kids their right to a public education.
Mary Holland from the New York University School of Law testified in opposition at the hearing. She says Pan's measure is coercive.
“The parents here today are unlikely to comply with the vaccine schedule, it would violate their covenant with their God or their conscious because rightly or wrongly, they believe they would be putting their children at risk or injury or death by vaccinating them,” Holland says.
Holland says her views don't necessarily reflect the position of NYU.
The bill has been amended to allow personal belief exemptions for vaccines not currently mandated, unless the legislature intervenes.
The measure moves next to the Senate Appropriations Committee.