Capitol Alert

California vaccine bill referred to single Assembly committee

Protestors opposed to the mandatory vaccination bill SB277 rally outside of the Capitol before a Senate hearing on the bill on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 in Sacramento, Calif.
Protestors opposed to the mandatory vaccination bill SB277 rally outside of the Capitol before a Senate hearing on the bill on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 in Sacramento, Calif. AP

A bill requiring California school children to be fully vaccinated will face an easier path through the Assembly than the one it took through the Senate, needing to clear only one committee in the lower house.

The Assembly Rules Committee referred the bill to Assembly Health Committee on Thursday, putting the deeply contentious measure one policy committee away from an Assembly floor vote –the penultimate step before it would go to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown. The Democratic governor has not taken a stance on Senate Bill 277, but has lauded the benefits of vaccination.

Democratic lawmakers on the committee referred the bill over the objection of Republican members who said a sole committee would not be enough to publicly vet the divisive measure.

“This is not about whether you support or oppose mandatory vaccinations,” said Assemblywoman Ling-Ling Chang, R-Diamond Bar, “it’s about the integrity of the Assembly and ensuring bills are considered appropriately.”

Before it could reach a Senate floor vote, SB 277 had to pass through three policy committees – Health, Judiciary and Education – that made for an arduous series of lengthy, impassioned hearings. It moved through the Senate Health Committee fairly easily but got hung up in the Senate Education Committee amid concerns about children being guaranteed an education.

Ultimately the bill cleared the committees and passed off the Senate floor on a 25-10 vote.

.Jeremy B. White: (916) 326-5543, @CapitolAlert

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