OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Richard Pan’

Could Governor Brown Veto SB 277 Due to Missing Religious Exemption?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 18, 2015

So my post on Tuesday about the OC GOP opposing SB 277 has already cracked the top 10 posts of all time on OC Political, and it appears to be on pace to overtake #9 sometime this morning.  (For those of you wondering, #9 is Live from OCGOP Central Committee: Efforts to Remove Deborah Pauly as 1st Vice Chair from June 18, 2012. Note to self: June Central Committee meetings equal high readership.)

In light of this readership spike, I decided to do some more reading on SB 277, the bill by Senator Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) to require vaccination of schoolchildren who do not have a medical exemption.  Existing law permits exemptions for medical reasons or personal belief.  In a nutshell, SB 277 would eliminate the personal belief exemption.

One of the most interesting items was AB 2109 of 2012 by then-Assemblyman Richard Pan (D-Sacramento).  AB 2109 required a health care practitioner to sign an attestation that they provided information regarding the benefits and risks of the immunization and the health risks of specified communicable diseases to a parent of the student in question.  AB 2109 also required a parent of the student to sign a statement that they received the information.

 

While Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 2109 into law, he issued a signing message.  (Signing messages are an infrequent occurrence with just a handful of bills getting a signing message each year; the vast majority of bills are signed without such messages.)  The full text of the signing message follows:

This bill seeks to boost immunization rates for children in communities where vaccine rates are falling.

Current state law requires children to be vaccinated prior to enrollment in school or a child care facility, but allows a parent or guardian to opt out of this requirement based on a personal belief. This bill doesn’t change that.  Consistent with current law, AB 2109 allows parents with a personal belief to reject vaccination for their child.

This bill is about explaining the value of vaccinations – both the benefits and risks – for an individual child and the community. Whether these are simple “information exchanges” or more detailed discussions, they will be valuable even if a parent chooses not to vaccinate.

I am signing AB 2109 and am directing the Department of Public Health to oversee this policy so parents are not overly burdened by its implementation. Additionally, I will direct the department to allow for a separate religious exemption on the form. In this way, people whose religious beliefs preclude vaccinations will not be required to seek a health care practitioner’s signature.

In signing AB 2109, Brown spent half the second and fourth paragraphs discussing personal belief exemptions.  The fourth paragraph, the Governor, a former seminarian, issued his direction to the Department of Public Health to create a religious exemption on the form where they would not need to get a health care practitioner’s signature.  In other words, a religious exemption went around AB 2109.

This interesting post from a site called Science Blogs blasts Brown because they felt he “tried to water down the bill” and the he “blows it” for creating a religious exemption.

Putting aside the legality of the Governor’s direction to the Department of Public Health regarding AB 2109, this could be an opening for opponents of SB 277 to persuade Governor Brown to veto SB 277.

When SB 277 was introduced, Brown’s spokesman announced, “The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered.”

Clearly, Brown wants to sign a bill that reduces exemptions, but it is entirely possible that he doesn’t want to eliminate the religious exemption.

According to this article and map by the National Conference of State Legislatures, 48 states allow religious exemptions (only Mississippi and West Virginia do not) but only 20 states allow philosophical exemptions (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).

It could be that Governor Brown would want to eliminate the philosophical exemption but not the religious exemption.  The lack of a religious exemption could be the Achilles’ heel for SB 277 supporters and the silver bullet for SB 277 opponents.  Only time will tell.

The bill still needs a vote on the Assembly Floor and then another vote on the Senate Floor concurring to amendments made in the Assembly, but SB 277 is expected to survive both floor votes, at which point it will arrive on the Governor’s desk.

Posted in State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

OC GOP Opposes SB 277 (Pan) – Schoolchildren Vaccination Bill

Posted by Chris Nguyen on June 16, 2015

wpid-ocgop-logo-1_400x400.jpgLast 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.

Posted in Republican Central Committee, State Assembly, State Senate | Tagged: , , , , , , | 103 Comments »