SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – A third panel of state senators has passed a bill mandating that California schoolchildren be vaccinated in an effort to combat recent outbreaks of measles and whooping cough.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted 5-1 for the legislation after more than three hours of testimony. Hundreds of people rallied at the Capitol in opposition.

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The proposal would eliminate California’s personal belief and religious exemptions so unvaccinated children would not be able to attend public or private schools. Medical waivers would only be available for children who have health problems.

The authors amended the bill so parents can seek an exemption if the state adds any additional vaccination requirements.

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The bill, SB277, has generated intense debates, pitting parental rights against community health. It now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Lawmakers Tuesday also approved a separate bill that would require day care center workers to be vaccinated. SB792 by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

 

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