LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

California Lawmakers Vote To Remove Vaccine Exemptions For Schoolchildren

Leukemia survivor Rhett Krawitt, 7, carries a box of petitions representing more than 30,000 people supporting a measure requiring nearly all California schoolchildren to be vaccinated. He took them to the governor's office at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on Wednesday. The state Assembly voted Thursday to remove so-called "personal belief exemptions" for immunizations.

The California Assembly has joined the state Senate in voting to approve a controversial bill requiring all children attending school to be vaccinated against measles and other common, preventable illnesses — effectively eliminating so-called "personal belief exemptions" that allowed parents to opt out.

The bill is aimed at increasing immunization rates following a serious measles outbreak in December that was traced back to Disneyland and that sickened dozens.

The measure passed the California Assembly on a 46-30 vote, with two Republicans joining the Democratic majority.

"We do not have the right, nor should we have the power, to take away a parent's right to choose," complained Assemblyman Devon Mathis, R-Visalia.

According to The Contra Costa Times, "over the past few months, hundreds of parents who oppose the legislation have rallied lawmakers at the Capitol saying the bill violates their parental rights, and their belief that some vaccines are unsafe for some children. Then, often with their children in tow, they testified at the public hearing where the measure was considered."

As The Associated Press notes, the measure "would give California one of the nation's strictest vaccine laws by striking the state's personal belief exemption. Only children with serious health issues would be allowed to opt out of mandatory vaccine schedules. Unvaccinated children would need to be homeschooled."

The Contra Costa Times says that only Mississippi and West Virginia have a law as strict as the one that just passed the California Legislature.

The Senate version of the measure requires children attending any public, private or parochial school to be immunized against 10 specified diseases. It would allow only medical exemptions.

A similar bill was already passed by the Senate last month, but because it was amended in the Assembly, it must return to the Senate before going to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who has not said whether he would sign it into law.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)