Thank you for your recent communication in opposition to AB 2109 (Pan), which would amend current state law requiring a child’s parent or guardian to provide an elementary or secondary school with a letter or affidavit stating that immunization is contrary to their beliefs. This bill would require that an additional document be signed by a health care provider to signify that the parent or guardian has been informed of the benefits and risks of immunization and the health risks of the communicable diseases. I understand that you oppose this bill because you believe parents should be able to decide whether their child should be immunized and that health care providers may choose not to sign the document, creating an inconvenience.
This bill increases protection for children and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases, while still respecting and preserving parent choice. The continued increase in Personal Belief Exemptions and resultant decreases in community immunization rates could have a significant impact on public safety. Personal Belief Exemptions are relatively easy to obtain; parents or schools may use them simply because they find vaccination inconvenient, or because they have been misinformed about the health effects of vaccines. This bill will make certain that all parents are aware of the individual and public health risks of exempting a child from required immunizations and will increase the protection of children and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases while still respecting and preserving parent choice. After carefully considering all the arguments before me, I supported AB 2109 on the Senate floor on August 22nd, 2012. The bill was signed by the Governor and chaptered into law on September 30th, 2012.
Despite our differences on this issue, I trust that we agree on far more issues than we disagree. I appreciate hearing from my constituents on issues of concern to them.
You may wish to read more about the status, history and analysis of this and other bills online at www.leginfo.ca.gov/bilinfo.html . While you are online, please check out my website, www.sen.ca.gov/steinberg, to learn of community events and other issues in which I am involved.
Be assured that I will keep your views in mind if this issue comes before me for a vote. Please continue to express your views to me so I may better represent you in the state Senate.
If you need assistance or have concerns about another state matter, please do not hesitate to call my office at (916) 651-1529, or email me at email@example.com.
President pro Tempore
6th Senate District