Last night, the Republican Party of Orange County voted to approve a resolution opposing SB 277, the bill by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) on vaccination of schoolchildren.
Proposed by OC GOP Sergeant-at-Arms Tim Whitacre, the resolution passed after a short discussion with many SB 277 opponents in the audience.
OC GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker opened the discussion on the resolution by speaking about individual liberty, the overreach of government, and how many Democrats were re-registering as Republicans in light of SB 277.
OC GOP Second Vice Chair Mary Young spoke against the resolution, speaking of her experience as a young woman personally witnessing the effects of polio, with people being disabled and people needing to use iron lungs to breath. She expressed her fear about the return of polio.
OC GOP Sergeant-at-Arms Tim Whitacre, the resolution’s author, echoed Chairman Whitaker’s points about the overreach of government and how many Democrats were re-registering as Republicans in light of SB 277. Whitacre also spoke of individual liberty and the rights of parents.
OC GOP Secretary Peggy Huang was not present but instructed her alternate to vote against the resolution and to read a statement about the efficacy of vaccines and the declaration by Autism Speaks that vaccines are not linked to autism. There were murmurs objecting to those statements from the SB 277 opponents who were in attendance at the meeting.
OC GOP Central Committee Member Robert Hammond spoke in favor of the resolution, noting his 14 years of experience as a public school teacher. Neither he nor any of his colleagues had a single unvaccinated student in any of their classes. He spoke of how he and other teachers would go into the community to encourage vaccinations and how every parent with an unvaccinated child in the community would choose to vaccinate their children when the teachers educated them on the issue. Hammond explained that while he strongly supports vaccination, his opposition to SB 277 is on the basis that vaccination should be a personal responsibility, not coerced by the government.
The resolution passed by a voice vote.
Last week, the Assembly Health Committee approved SB 277 on a party-line vote of 12-6-1, with Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) not voting.
On May 14, the Senate passed SB 277 on a near-party-line vote of 25-11-3, with Republicans Anthony Cannella (D-Stanislaus County) and Jeff Stone (R-Riverside) in favor, Democrats Connie Levya (D-Chino) and Richard Roth (D-Riverside) against, and no votes recorded for Senators Tom Berryhill (R-Tuolumne County), Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), and Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove).
On April 28, SB 277 was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote of 5-1-1, with Senator John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) not voting.
On April 22, the Senate Education Committee approved SB 277 on a 7-2 vote with Senator Andy Vidak (R-Kings County) joining six Democrats in favor of the bill while Senators Connie Leyva (D-Chino) and Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) were in opposition.
On April 8, SB 277 was approved by the Senate Health Committee on a 6-2-1 vote, with Senator Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) joining five Democrats in favor, Senators Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama County) and Richard Roth (D-Riverside) in opposition, and no vote recorded for Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina).
The full text of the OC GOP resolution reads:
A RESOLUTION OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF ORANGE COUNTY
AFFIRMING ITS SUPPORT OF PARENT/INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND URGING ALL MEMBERS
OF THE CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY TO OPPOSE SENATE BILL 277 (PAN)
Whereas, the Republican Party of Orange County affirms its strong support of the Republican Party Platform – that the rights of parents are sacrosanct with regard to their children and believes in restraining government that would encroach upon those rights;
Whereas, the Republican Party of Orange County understands the United States Constitution and the California Constitution were established to protect individual freedoms and the rights of the minority;
Whereas, it is embedded in both Constitutions that citizens have a right to practice their personal beliefs freely without discrimination from the state and be afforded due process;
Whereas, we uphold the rights of parents to be informed first, and then consent to medical treatment for their children free of coercion, manipulation or fear of governmental intrusion;
Whereas, the current voluntary vaccination program is already proven effective at protecting Californians against life threatening complications and death associated with vaccine preventable illnesses;
Whereas, there is no medically defined epidemic in or near California that warrants such legislation from the Democratic controlled California State Senate and State Assembly and Republicans do not believe in adding to laws and regulations when enforcement of current laws and regulations are sufficient;
Whereas, the language of SB 277 gives the government unlimited power to add vaccines to the currently mandated school entry immunization battery without hearing or oversight, and removes the right of parental objection based upon sincerely held religious beliefs, and personal beliefs; now,
Therefore, be it Resolved, that the Republican Party of Orange County:
opposes SB 277 in its entirety;
calls on all Members of the California Assembly – especially Republicans – to strongly oppose SB 277;
affirms its staunch support of California parental rights to make decisions as to what is best for their children – especially consent to medical treatment for those children, without fear of reprisal or backlash; and
invites disaffected registered California Democrats and their families to abandon the Party that has abandoned them and re-register as Republicans just as dozens did at the recent Democratic Party State Convention; since the Republican Party is traditionally and demonstrably committed to defending parental and individual rights.