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California Bill Would Require Public School Children to be Vaccinated

On Thursday, California’s assembly approved a hotly contested bill requiring that nearly all public schoolchildren be vaccinated.  The bill will now be set forth before Governor Jerry Brown.

The bill aims to increase immunization rates after a measles outbreak linked to Disneyland in December sickened over 100 people in the U.S. and Mexico.

It would give California one of the nation's strictest vaccine laws by striking the state's personal belief exemption. Only children with serious health issues would be allowed to opt out of mandatory vaccine schedules. Unvaccinated children would need to be homeschooled.

If the bill becomes law, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states with such strict requirements.

The measure passed on a bipartisan 46-30 vote after weeks of vocal opposition, with thousands of parents placing calls to representatives and donning red shirts to protest at the Capitol.

The Senate already approved the bill once, but still must approve amendments before it is sent to Brown. The Senate could take up amendments as early as next week.

Governor Brown has not said whether he would sign the bill.