A bill to make it harder for parents to get a vaccination exemption for their children passed out of a Colorado House committee on a 7-4 vote at about 4 a.m. Tuesday morning — nearly 14 hours after the hearing started.
It was the longest committee of the 2019 legislative session so far with hundred of parents bouncing and walking their children up and down the Capitol halls late into the night.
House Bill 1312 would create a standardized exemption form that every parent opting their kids out of vaccinations for personal or religious reasons would have to fill out in person at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. They could renew the request online going forward. It also gives the Board of Health authority to decide what immunizations kids need to attend school using criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“This is about keeping Colorado’s kids safe. We need to be proactive, not reactive. We are in the midst of public health crisis and we can’t wait for a tragedy to occur,” Rep. Mullica, D-Northglenn, said in a statement released early Tuesday morning after the bill passed. “Experts believe this option will help improve Colorado’s dismal and dangerous immunization rates.”
The people who opposed the bill view this requirement as an unfair burden placed just on parents who don’t vaccinate, and dozens told the committee they don’t trust the state agency to keep their personal information safe or private. They also raised concerns about the possibility of the state increasing the number of required vaccines for public school.