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House Committee to Again Consider Vaccination Bills

Jennifer Smith

By Jennifer Smith, MASB Director of Government Relations

DashBoard, Nov. 29, 2017

On Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight is scheduled to take testimony on House Bills 5162 and 5163. The legislation would get rid of the Department of Health and Human Services’ rule requiring parents to travel to their local health departments to receive education on vaccines before receiving a waiver from having their child vaccinated. It would also prevent DHHS from promulgating any rules regarding vaccinations that are not strictly required by law.

Recently, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Nikolao v Lyon that Michigan’s requirement to go to the local public health department to discuss a vaccination waiver does not violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on blocking the free exercise of worship. In the decision, Judge Richard Suhrheinrich wrote, “It is true that Michigan is trying to discourage parents from opting out of vaccination—but it is only doing so to protect children from serious and avoidable diseases. We are hard-pressed to envision a more secular purpose than this.”

MASB supports the court’s findings and opposes these bills because of the danger they pose to unvaccinated children. Further, we support vaccinations for school children who are able to be vaccinated and state regulations designed to protect the entire school population from disease outbreaks. We also believe that school boards should follow the guidance from the medical profession on vaccinations, and therefore oppose legislation to curb the ability of state departments from requiring consults with medical professionals before signing a waiver from vaccinations.

The House Committee on Oversight is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30 at 9 a.m. in the House Office Building in Lansing. Contact your State Representative, especially if they sit on the committee, and urge opposition to this change in process for waivers for vaccinations.

House Oversight Committee:

Joseph Graves (R), Chair, 51st District
Martin Howrylak (R), Majority Vice Chair, 41st District
Brandt Iden (R), 61st District
Steven Johnson (R), 72nd District
Kevin Hertel (D), Minority Vice Chair, 18th District
John Chirkun (D), 22nd District

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