Parents: It’s time to get your kids their shots. California’s vaccine law takes full effect Friday, prohibiting school authorities from admitting new students or advancing students to seventh grade unless they have been properly vaccinated or have a valid medical excuse.
The requirement stems from Senate Bill 277, last year’s controversial law that eliminated religious and personal belief exemptions from child vaccinations.
“It’s going to ensure that all children are safe in school from dangerous, preventable diseases,” state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, the bill’s author, said Thursday.
Critics of the bill argued that it unfairly limited parental choice. Yet an attempt to overturn the law with a referendum fell far short of getting the necessary number of voter signatures to qualify for the ballot and an effort to recall Pan fell flat.
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“It’s not right for children to be prevented from going to school because of their vaccination status,” said Christina Hildebrand, founder and president of A Voice for Choice, a group that remains opposed to SB 277.
Hildebrand said the group hopes to introduce a bill repealing the vaccination law. SB 277’s opponents will hold a candlelight vigil at the Capitol on Friday evening to commemorate children Hildebrand said have been injured or killed by vaccines.
“Ultimately where we stand is that parents should make the decision to vaccinate their children with their doctors,” Hildebrand said, “It shouldn’t be something brought into the school arena.”
Pan, though, said the law protects children who have leukemia or other conditions that prevent them from being vaccinated, adding that they “depend on the rest of us” to get properly vaccinated.
“This marks the start of a healthier, safer California,” Leah Russin, executive director of Vaccinate California, said in a statement. “With SB 277 in effect, vaccination rates will continue increasing as parents protect their children and communities, making our state more resilient to preventable disease outbreak.”
While the vast majority of bills passed by the Legislature each year go into effect the following Jan. 1, some laws include provisions that take effect July 1 or later.
Also going into effect Friday is Assembly Bill 1465, which requires first-time applicants for California driver’s licenses and identification cards to provide proof of residency in California. Applicants must provide two documents showing proof of residency, such as a lease agreement or utility bill.
Another law, Assembly Bill 96, prohibits the purchase and sale of ivory or rhinoceros horn. The bill includes a few exemptions: antiques or musical instruments produced before 1975 that are less than 20 percent ivory, or rhino horn. Violators face fines of up to $10,000 and 30 days in jail.
Some of the other laws taking effect Friday:
▪ Developmental disabilities – Under Assembly Bill 564, families can have higher incomes before they are subject to parental fees for children receiving round-the-clock care outside the home.
▪ Elder abuse – Senate Bill 196 makes it clear that county adult protective services agencies can seek a protective restraining order on behalf of a senior citizen or dependent adult suffering from abuse.
▪ Wage garnishment – Senate Bill 501 reduces how much creditors can garnish a person’s paycheck. The law, supporters say, will help low-income workers to better manage their debts.
▪ Disability payments – Under SB 667, people will not have to wait a week for disability payments to begin each time they miss work for extended periods because of chronic medical reasons.
▪ Armed guards – Private security companies registered with the Department of Justice can own firearms and issue them to employees under AB 2220, approved in 2014.