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Thursday, April 23, 2015

CA Vaccine Bill Advances

At The San Jose Mercury News, Tracy Seipel and Jessica Calefati report:
Legislation aimed at reversing the state's liberal vaccine exemption law took a major step forward Wednesday in the state Senate, only a week after support for the bill seemed to be on shaky ground.

The dramatic 7-2 vote by the Senate Education Committee surprised some Capitol observers, as one East Bay Democrat, Loni Hancock of Berkeley, switched sides and voted yes.

If the bill becomes law, California would become the third state after Mississippi and West Virginia to slam the door on any exemptions to vaccinations except those issued for medical reasons.

Until Wednesday, the pro-vaccine movement had appeared to be losing momentum after two other blue West Coast states, Oregon and Washington, shot down efforts to tighten vaccine laws in March.

Political experts say California's effort is apparently more successful because the recent measles outbreak began in the Golden State -- at Disneyland -- in December. While the outbreak was declared over last week, state public health officials said it wouldn't have happened if more people had been vaccinated.

"There's nothing like the largest measles outbreak in the state to focus people's attention on a contagious health issue," said Dan Schnur, director of USC's Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics