Bill Barring Schools from Requiring Immunizations Fails in Committee

Feb 25, 2020

After more than two hours of testimony and discussion, the House Health and Human Services committee rejects a bill that prohibits schools from requiring vaccinations. 

House Majority Leader Lee Qualm sponsored the bill and says it’s unfortunate the bill has been referenced as “anti-vax.” He says it’s really about medical freedom.

“It does not ban vaccinations, and I want to be clear that I’m not opposed to vaccinations. They have saved millions of lives," Qualm explains. "For the vaccination portion of this bill, this bill provides the freedom to decide if you want to get all of the vaccinations as scheduled, some of the vaccinations, or none of the vaccinations and use a different way to increase the immune system in yourself and your children.”

In opponent testimony, State Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysd0n pushed back against assertions that vaccines aren’t proven to be safe.

“Children who are not vaccinated are more than 35 times more likely to contract measles, and six-times more likely to contract pertussis. That’s a fact. We know that vaccines are safe. The US vaccine supply is rigorously tested and monitored for safety. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise,” she says. 

After hearing from parents and medical professionals, the committee decides to send the bill to the 41st day. Representative Rhonda Milstead says the decision is a matter of doing what’s best for the whole community.

“There’s nothing here that says a parent has to get vaccinations. But they’re required for school. They’re required when you enter the space of other children.”

The bill is defeated on a 10 to 2 vote.