SACRAMENTO (CBSLA.com/AP) — A bill proposed by a Redondo Beach lawmaker that would limit the number of schoolchildren who are exempt from being vaccinated advanced Tuesday in a Sacramento committee vote.
Democratic Sen. Ben Allen, a former school board member, and Sen. Richard Pan, a Democratic pediatrician from Sacramento, hoped the changes would sway members of the Senate Education Committee who worried it would deprive unvaccinated children from receiving an adequate education.
Senate Bill 277 (PDF) was approved 7-2 by the Education Committee after the vote was delayed last week due to heavy criticism and vocal opposition to the legislation, which generated intense debates by pitting parental rights against public health officials.
Hundreds of opponents again filled the committee room for Wednesday’s vote, the Associated Press reported.
The amendments allow families that opt out of vaccines to homeschool their children together and let students seek independent study.
According to a committee summary paper, SB 277 would apply to private school students if passed.
Speaking on KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO prior to the vote, Allen said despite the changes, opponents to his bill were unlikely to shift their point of view.
“I think the folks who feel very strongly on the other side of this would be unhappy with almost anything we come up with,” he said.
The proposal was among several drafted across the nation in the wake of a measles outbreak that started at Disneyland in December, sickening more than 100 people in the U.S. and Mexico.
The bill now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a hearing next week.
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