SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Opponents of California’s new law to boost vaccination rates among schoolchildren by strictly limiting exemptions are continuing to fight the legislation online and in public protests, even after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law this week.
Critics of the legislation are rallying around an effort by former state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who has filed paperwork for a ballot initiative asking voters to repeal the vaccine mandate, continuing their outspoken criticism on Twitter and other social media platforms, and holding rallies around the state.
Opponents planned events to protest the law Friday in San Francisco, Santa Monica and Huntington Beach.
Four women remained outside the Capitol on Thursday as part of what they called a silent vigil against SB277, which prompted the most heated legislative debate of the year as thousands of parents converged on the Capitol for numerous hearings on the bill.
A woman who declined to speak to a reporter stood silently on the steps of the Capitol holding a sign that said “#HearUs Repeal #SB277 #WeAreNotGoingAway.”
“We’re going to be fighting it in all the avenues that we have available to us as citizens,” said Kimberly Gibbs-Egan, 34, a mother of four who also was outside the Capitol.
Both chambers of the Legislature approved the bill striking California’s personal belief exemption for immunizations with bipartisan support. Critics have started an effort to recall the bill’s primary author, Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, and are considering similar efforts against other legislative supporters.
Under the law, children whose parents refuse vaccination can try to obtain a medical exemption or be home-schooled under the law, although medical exemptions will still be allowed for children with serious health issues. Otherwise, school-age children who currently claim a personal belief exemption will need to get fully vaccinated by kindergarten and seventh grade, the state’s two vaccine checkpoints.
Parents who oppose it have said they will sue if their children are turned away from school, but the law does not take effect until 2016, creating a long lag time for that approach. The law applies to public and private schools as well as day care facilities.
The Sacramento Bee reported that Donnelly, a Republican from Twin Peaks who sought the Republican nomination for governor, sought to enlist help from actor Jim Carrey in promoting his ballot initiative by sending him a tweet. Carrey, the star of “Dumb and Dumber” and other movies, unleashed a Twitter tirade against the law this week, calling Brown a “corporate fascist” for signing it.
On Wednesday, a day after Brown signed the bill, vandals tagged the side of a building owned by the city of Beverly Hills with graffiti opposing SB277. Crews “cleaned up the graffiti right away” and are investigating the vandalism, said police Sgt. Max Subin.
Associated Press writer Alicia Chang in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.