Controversial vaccine bill passes state Senate
Senate Bill 277, the controversial legislation that would remove religious and personal belief exemptions for childhood vaccines, was passed by the state senate Thursday morning 25-10.
Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, introduced the bill. Next, it moves to the state assembly.
"This is a matter of public safety. This is a matter of protecting communities," Pan said.
Pan said he is confident that Thursday's vote is a step in the right direction.
"Together we are turning the tide to stop communicable diseases before any more families are hurt," he said.
Many California parents argue the bill violates their religious freedom. Others say that, while not necessarily opposed to vaccinations, say it should be something left up to parents.
Sacramento mother Kathryn Mill said she will not be vaccinating her children, even if the bill becomes law.
She said instead, she will home school her children.
Lisa Bakshi, another mother from Roseville said she is devastated by the outcome of the Senate vote but not surprised.
"We are disappointed that our elected officials are not standing up for the citizens of this state. They are not standing up for religious rights, parental rights," she said.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator Joel Anderson, from Alpine-San Diego, pointed out that even inmates have a right to practice their faith in prison.
"For many practicing Muslims, Catholics, Evangelicals — this violates their personal religious beliefs," Anderson said.
He believes SB277 violates the constitution.
"Do you have the right to steal my soul without my knowledge?" he said.
SB277 will go to the Assembly next, then on to the governor's desk. If Gov. Jerry Brown signs it, it wouldn't take effect until 2016.
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