Governor Newsom Signs Bills Tightening Medical Exemptions for Immunizations

Today, the California Legislature passed SB 714, a bill that was gutted and amended last Friday to make the additional changes sought by Governor Newsom in order to gain his approval of SB 276. Recall, last week included a flurry of activity as the Legislature passed SB 276 by Senator Pan, a bill to strengthen the medical exemption process. Meanwhile, the Governor’s Office last week issued a statement on Twitter immediately following the passage of SB 276 in the Assembly regarding the additional amendments the Governor would seek in a concurrent bill – now SB 714.

This afternoon, the Assembly took up SB 714 as protesters watched, chanted, and yelled from the Assembly gallery. SB 714 was a candidate to be heard by the Assembly Health Committee since that is where the original form of the bill stalled; however, the Assembly took action to withdraw the bill from the committee and instead moved it immediately to the Assembly floor for action. Assembly Member Mathis spoke up in opposition to the bill and spoke of his discontent with the arrests of protesters earlier in the day on the Capitol grounds. The Assembly passed the bill with a vote of 43 to 14, with several members not voting. Protests erupted immediately following the passage, causing the Assembly to recess soon after.

Protesters also filled the Senate gallery and erupted in protests prior to the bill being taken up on the Senate floor. Several senators spoke in opposition to the bill, with one member even calling the bill “vindictive.” Other arguments in opposition included concerns over vaccine injuries and adverse reactions to immunizations, the importance of parental choice, and the lack of a transparent process. Senator Stone made a motion to move the bill to the Senate Health Committee for a hearing; however, that motion failed with only Republicans voting ‘yes.’ The Senate passed the bill with a vote of 27-13, with Republicans voting ‘no’ and Senators Allen and Roth not voting.

The SB 714 was quickly transmitted to the Governor for action, where the Governor made good on his commitment to enact SB 276 by signing both measures. CHEAC sent a letter to Governor Newsom last Friday requesting his signature on SB 276, and we are pleased to see both measures signed into law.