The Latest: California vaccine exemption bill advances
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The Latest: California vaccine exemption bill advances

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Latest on vaccination legislation (all times local):

7:25 p.m.

California lawmakers are advancing tougher rules for vaccinations despite hearing hours of testimony from hundreds of opponents.

The Senate Health Committee late Wednesday approved the proposal to give state public health officials instead of local doctors the power to decide which children can skip their shots before attending school.

They voted 6-2 in favour the bill despite more than three hours of often emotional pleas from parents and sometimes children who say the measure would interfere with parental rights.

Lawmakers decided stronger oversight is needed to stem bogus exemptions granted in many cases by doctors who are paid to excuse students from vaccinations.

Supporters say unvaccinated students are helping to spread measles outbreaks in California and elsewhere. The bill was backed by dozens of medical professionals and students.

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Noon:

Hundreds of opponents of mandatory vaccines are in Sacramento to oppose a California proposal to give state public health officials instead of local doctors the power to decide which children can skip their shots before attending school.

They plan to pack the first legislative hearing on a bill that proponents say would stem bogus exemptions granted in many cases by doctors who are paid to excuse students from vaccinations.

Opponents say the measure removes parental rights.

Critics are unlikely to derail the bill, since Sacramento pediatrician Richard Pan is chairman of the health committee considering his legislation Wednesday.

Supporters say unvaccinated students are helping to spread measles outbreaks in California and elsewhere.

Opponents also plan a rally to denounce what they term the “measles frenzy.”

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The bill is SB276.

The Associated Press

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