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Oregon House OKs tough vaccine rules over vocal opposition


SALEM, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon House on Monday approved controversial legislation removing a families’ ability to opt-out of required childhood vaccinations.

Lawmakers voted 35-25 Monday to approve House Bill 3063, which would prevent parents from claiming personal, philosophical or religious exemptions to avoid school vaccine requirements. The issue’s proven one of the most controversial this legislative session and has drawn hundreds of parents in protest.

Opponents say the state shouldn’t interfere in individual medical decisions and that the safety of vaccines is still up for debate.

This year has been the worst for U.S. measles count in over two decades. At least 77 people were diagnosed with measles as part of an outbreak in Washington and Oregon that public health officials declared to be over last week.

If passed, Oregon would join California, Mississippi and West Virginia in only allowing medical exemptions. Washington state voted this also year to limit exemptions for the measles vaccination.

News release from state Rep. Cheri Helt:

Bill Ending Nonmedical Vaccination Exemptions Passes Oregon House

Salem, Ore – Today, House Bill 3063 passed out of the Oregon House of Representatives on a 35-25 vote. The bill ends all nonmedical vaccination exemptions for attending K-12 schools in Oregon, and was introduced to protect student health and build immunity from contagious diseases in Oregon communities. Representative Cheri Helt, of Bend, is one the chief sponsors of House Bill 3063 and carried it on the House floor.

“House Bill 3063 is about saving lives, protecting children and communities, believing in sound science, and building immunity from dangerous diseases,” Helt said. “I am encouraged that it has passed through the House and hope my colleagues in the Senate agree that this legislation is vital to protect those among us who cannot be vaccinated due to legitimate medical reasons.”

“Passing House Bill 3063 will provide Oregonians with freedom from fear, freedom from sickness, freedom from quarantines and freedom from diseases that can kill,” the lawmaker added.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. If House Bill 3063 comes to her desk, Governor Kate Brown has said she will sign it into law.

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