The latest update
#update 3/25/19 Action Item!
Engrossed bill HB 1638 is scheduled to be heard this week, Friday 3/29, in the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care at 8:00 AM. Engrossed means the bill passed the House and is now in the Senate. This is the bill removing personal belief exemption from MMR vaccine requirement for school. We want this bill to pass as it will be the first of many steps towards a healthier Washington state.
If you want to attend, be prepared for a large group of people opposed. Department of Health and other vested parties are working on speakers. I am sure they will do a great job, as they have thus far. You should be able to watch it live on tvwa. I will be watching the recording when I get home from work.
It is possible that the public will be allowed to speak NOT on a first come first serve basis so if you arrive, regardless of the size of the crowd, please sign in. You could be called to speak!
Members are: Cleveland, Chair (D); Randall, Vice Chair (D); O’Ban; Bailey; Becker; Conway; Dhingra; Frockt; Keiser; Rivers; Van De Wege. Of that group, Cleveland, Randall, Conway, Dhingra, Frockt, Keiser, and Van De Wege all voted yes to pass SB5841 out of committee. So, I feel they are on the side of HB1638. O’Ban, Bailey, and Becker voted no, so they are likely anti HB1638. Click here to get clickable member names and access to their email addies and phone numbers.
Action item: Call or email (ONE AT A TIME) the senators above who voted yes for SB5841 and remind them how important community immunity is for Washington state and how our children and our community have the right to be protected from preventable diseases. Thank them.
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How to help with the legislation
In the wake of huge measles outbreaks in Washington and around the country, Washington state lawmakers are pushing forth bills to tighten the mandate laws. Right now, you can contact your legislators! It is best to contact those for whom you are a constituent. Send an email or call and tell them why you support that vaccinations save lives, that personal belief exemptions are not based on sound science, that you prefer to get medical advice from your trusted doctor, and that you care about public health and community immunity.
House Bill 1638 has moved to the Senate
As you know, there are currently two bills in Olympia that are designed to remove the personal exemption to vaccination. Here is the status of both bills:
SB 5841: now on the Senate Floor. It could be up for a vote at any time. This bill would remove the personal exemption to all school-required vaccinations. You can check on its status HERE.
HB 1638: on March 5, the bill was passed by the House with 57 yays; 40 nays; absent, 0; excused, 1. This bill removes the personal exemption to the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. Now the bill goes to the Senate. You can check on its status HERE.
You can find your senator here and write to him or her. Please be respectful and send your email to one senator at a time. You can also call. If you want to contact other senators than your own, please do so ONE AT A TIME. They are not appreciating the spam they are getting from the opposers.
You can use ResistBot to make writing your legislators easy! Text resist to 50409, or:
You can switch from SMS to one of these services:
If you know your senator’s name, here is a list of emails
You are welcome to cut and paste this sample letter into your email or comment:
I am writing to urge your support of House Bill 1638 and Senate Bill 5841.
Measles is the most contagious disease known. Of all the diseases, this is the one we rely most on the people around us also being immune. Over the last few years, sporadic cases have been imported into the US, but they didn’t spread and turn into outbreaks because they landed in highly immunized communities. There was nowhere for the virus to go and it died out. But this time it found fertile ground in a community full of unimmunized children. Their parents had opted for philosophical exemptions. The gross majority had no medical reasons why they couldn’t be immunized. Their parents just chose not to. As a result, Washington and Oregon are wrestling with an outbreak, spending tremendous resources to keep it contained. Thirty percent of those kids will have complications, and it’s possible that years down the road, some will die from SSPE, an always-fatal brain complication of measles.
HB 1638 would remove the philosophic exemption for MMR. SB 5841 would remove the philosophical exemption to all vaccines required for school. They will not result in 100% of kids being immunized. It won’t even result in 100% of eligible kids being immunized. But it will help increase the rate of immunization and decrease the likelihood of another outbreak. Children have the right to be in school without fearing outbreaks of dangerous diseases we can prevent with vaccines. Those who cannot be vaccinated rely on the rest of us for herd immunity. Babies, the elderly, and the immune compromised need us to vaccinate to protect ourselves and the community.
Vaccinating parents are the majority in Washington State. The entirety of the panel who spoke against HB 1638 at the health care committee hearing was flown in from out of state. They make their livings sowing fear around vaccines. They are not practicing doctors. They are not members of our community, and they do not represent the true interests of our community. They shared the kind of dangerous misinformation talked about in the news lately, the kind which is putting the rest of us at risk. Those who spoke against SB 5841 further spread falsehoods. Please talk with our superior department of health, our marvelous doctors at the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, with our school nurses, our family physicians, and everyone working in public health. These are the experts in how to prevent dangerous infections and they are all in support of both of these bills.
Thank you for the work you do for our community.