Friday, June 26, 2015

Could California's proposed vaccine law be unconstitutional?

Vaccine law 

Parents and teachers who oppose efforts to end the personal belief exemption on vaccinations rally outside Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters on April 14. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times) 

Could California’s proposed vaccine law, which would require more children to get vaccinated to enter daycare and school, be eventually ruled unconstitutional?

Some opponents to the bill, SB 277, think so. Here’s why.

Who is arguing that such a law is not constitutional?

One person doing so is Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Democrat from Glendale. He accused the state of “infringing on the rights of certain students to attend school.” 

What’s the constitutional argument based on?

There is a state constitutional right to a public education.

How does that compare with current state laws on vaccination?

All 50 states have laws requiring vaccination for schoolchildren. So the argument is really about how easy it is for a student to get exempted from a required vaccine. 

So would a law requiring vaccines for school entry, with no exceptions except for medical reasons, be unconstitutional?

There are several strong arguments for why the law would be constitutional, UC Hastings College of the Law professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss said.

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