The Latest: California vaccine bill moves ahead

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on a California Assembly hearing on vaccination legislation (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

A California Assembly committee has advanced a bill to tighten the state’s rules on vaccination exemptions.

But there remains disagreement about the measure among Assembly Democrats.

Some members of the Assembly Health Committee say the bill will help protect children amid a surge in measles cases across the country.

Sen. Richard Pan, the bill’s author, says California can’t allow “a handful of unscrupulous physicians to put our children in danger.”

The bill would give state public health officials oversight of doctors that grant more than five exemptions annually.

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke says she thinks the bill takes away choices for families. She’s not supporting it.


3 p.m.

Hundreds filed through a committee hearing at California’s Capitol on Thursday to speak against legislation that proponents say will crack down on fraudulent vaccine exemptions.

Several opponents of the bill told lawmakers that they will not comply with the proposed law.

The bill would require that state public health officials review exemptions granted by doctors who issue more than five a year.

The bill’s author, Sen. Richard Pan, says unscrupulous doctors are selling exemptions, creating a public health risk.

Proponents previously proposed requiring that state officials review every exemption. Amendments scaling back the state’s oversight won the support of at least one committee member and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Critics argue the bill would discourage physicians from writing exemptions, even for those who may need them because of other medical conditions.


10:40 a.m.

Hundreds of people were expected to weigh in Thursday on changes to California legislation that would give public health officials oversight of doctors who grant a high number of vaccination exemptions.

The hearing of the Assembly Health Committee is likely to draw those opposed to vaccines as well as white-coated medical professionals and students voicing support for the measure. Critics shouted “we will not comply” inside the Senate last month as lawmakers voted on the legislation.

The hearing comes just days after Sen. Richard Pan, the bill’s author, announced major changes designed to win support from Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor was concerned with requiring state health officials to sign off on every exemption, as the measure had initially required.

Now, the public health department would only scrutinize doctors who grant more than five medical exemptions in a year and schools with vaccination rates of less than 95%.

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