California Governor Gavin Newsom will sign a bill tightening vaccine mandates, but with some compormises.
Melody Gutierrez at LAT:
The agreement between state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) and Newsom calls for the governor to sign SB 276, which has passed the Legislature, and for revisions to be placed in separate legislation, SB 714, which requires approval by the Assembly and Senate by Sept. 13. Newsom’s office said the governor will sign SB 276 once the Legislature passes SB 714 with his changes. Legislative leaders said Friday that they support the new changes under the deal.
SB 714, which is also written by Pan, would invalidate any medical exemption from a doctor who has faced disciplinary action by the state medical board.
The changes under SB 714 include Newsom’s proposal to grandfather in all existing medical exemptions before Jan. 1, causing concern among critics that such a move would prompt a rush for new vaccine exemptions.
However, Newsom’s amendment contains a key caveat: New medical exemptions would be required when a child enters kindergarten, seventh grade or changes schools. By adding that provision, permanent medical exemptions would no longer be valid throughout a child’s K-12 education. A similar approach was used when the state eliminated personal belief exemptions in 2015 under another bill by Pan that allowed immunization waivers to remain valid until a child reached kindergarten, seventh grade or changed schools.
Under the deal reached Friday, temporary medical exemptions that currently allow a doctor to use his or her discretion as to the length of time they remain valid would be limited to one year.
SB 714 will also remove a provision called for in SB 276 that would have required doctors to certify that medical exemptions are accurate, under penalty of perjury.From Dr. Pan:
“As the latest measles outbreak threatens the country’s elimination status, California acted to keep children safe at school by abolishing non-medical exemptions. Unfortunately, a few unscrupulous physicians are selling inappropriate medical exemptions, and we need SB276 stop the corruption of medical exemptions that endanger children. I appreciate the Governor’s commitment to sign SB 276 with amendments contained in SB 714 that we both agree upon to ensure we maintain the community immunity needed to protect our kids.”