SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Gov. Jerry Brown signed a controversial vaccine bill into law that removes the personal belief exemption, requiring vaccinations for nearly all public school children in California.
The debate over the bill has been heated from the beginning, with concerns fueled by a debunked study linking vaccinations to autism and parents who say the government shouldn’t tell them how to raise their children.
The bill came into the spotlight after a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland sickened dozens.
Sen. Richard Pan, one of the authors of Senate Bill 277 thanks Brown for signing the measure into law the day after it passed the state Senate.
“I want to thank you for listening to the science and the people of California who want our state and communities to be safe and healthy,” he said.
The law eliminates the personal or religious beliefs option that allowed parents to refuse immunization for their children.
Starting in the 2016-17 school year, nearly all public and private school students will be required to be vaccinated, including children in day care.
Home-schooled children are exempt, and waivers are allowed when a child’s doctor advises against a vaccine for medical reasons.
Those who fought the bill blanketed the Capitol protesting in the past were down to just a handful of protesters who said they were disappointed with the governor’s decision.
“He failed California and he failed California’s children today,” said Kimberly McCauly.
Jessica Holl says her part-time teaching job will be a thing of the past.
“I have to totally lose my career to homeschool, my children and that’s something I really worked hard for,” she said.
Bill co-author Sen. Ben Allen says the bill went through three major committees and all voices were heard.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as some fear, ultimately we really made sure to strengthen the medical exemption so that anyone with a legitimate medical exemption and still send their kids to school,” he said.
Some opponents aren’t convinced.
“Parents do not like being told what to do,” McCauly said. “They do not like feeling like their rights are stripped away nobody is gonna move here and people are going to be moving out of here at alarming rates. He just screwed California, single-handedly screwed California.”