Senate Committee Approves Bill Requiring Vaccines for Calif. Children

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Protesters of the vaccine bill gather Wednesday at the Calif. state Capitol

The bill, which still faces a long road before passing, would mean home-schooling for children who opt out of vaccination programs.

A Senate committee approved a bill Wednesday that would require nearly all Calif. children to be vaccinated. The bill, which still requires further approval before passing, stipulates that children without vaccinations would need to be homeschooled.

Approval of Senate Bill 277 stalled on April 15, as legislators in the Senate Education Committee feared that too many children would be barred from attending school. The bill's authors added amendments, allowing multiple families to participate in home-schooling together or take part in school systems' independent study plans.

"We think we've struck a fair balance here that provides more options for parents who don’t want to vaccinate their children," said Sen. Ben Allen, a Democrat from Santa Monica who co-authored the bill, according to the New York Times

The bill, which passed through the committee on a 7-2 vote, now moves on to another committee before eventually facing a vote on the Senate floor. 

Opponents of the bill protested outside of the Capitol building, holding signs cautioning against the supposed risk of vaccines. In 2014, 2.5 percent of Calif. kindergartners were exempted from vaccinations due to personal beliefs. 

Earlier this month, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was protesting the bill and used the word "holocaust" to describe the effect of childhood vaccinations. He later apologized for his word choice.

The issue of childhood vaccinations has become a hot-button one in the state, with the bill being introduced following a measles outbreak that began in December 2014 at Disneyland

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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