Legislature Votes to Mandate Vaccinations for CA Kids

The mandatory vaccine bill, SB277, passed the state Assembly on a 46-30 vote during a Thursday hearing.

sb277 vote

Proponents of the bill say the passage is a victory for science and public health, while opponents decry the bill’s infringement upon parental rights.

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said in a prepared statement that the issue at hand with SB277 was not “whether or not you support vaccines” but “about the freedom to make our own choices as citizens”:

“I am concerned this legislation is yet another overreach of the state trying to dictate how we live our lives. As a mother, I made the choice to have my children vaccinated because I believe that was right for my family. By denying the ability for parents to choose what is right for their children, we are robbing Californians from one of their most essential liberties. This is not about vaccines; it is about whether or not the government should be telling us how to raise our children.”

vaccineBut during the Assembly hearing, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, said, “As a mother, I understand that the decisions we make about our children’s health care are deeply personal. While I respect the fundamental right to make medical decisions as a family, we must balance out with the fact that none of us has a right to endanger others. SB277 strikes a balance.”

“This isn’t just about Disneyland,” said Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-San Ramon, referring to the measles outbreak that occurred last year. “And this isn’t just about the need to make sure we wait for a crisis.”

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, voiced his opposition to the bill, calling it a “slippery slope” and said it sets a precedent where the state could mandate nearly anything “in the name of the common good, protecting others and stopping an outbreak.” He emphasized that the Legislature is “tasked with drawing lines” and said SB277 does not demonstrate where the line for medical necessity “reasonably ends to justify a law.”

A statewide poll from the Public Policy Institute of California released earlier this year revealed that more than two-thirds of California adults support barring unvaccinated children from attending public schools.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk.