Colorado Senate committee votes to advance bill that would tighten child-vaccination requirements

DENVER -- The Colorado Senate finance committee voted in favor early Thursday morning on a bill that aims at increasing vaccination rates in Colorado.

The 4-3 vote happened after several hours of testimony at the Colorado State Capitol.

HB19-1312 would create a standardized exemption form and require parents to make an in-person visit to their local health department to get a signature on a waiver form.

The bill is being heard during the final days of the state Legislature as the U.S. experiences has its largest measles outbreak since 2000.

Supporters hope to make it easier to get a vaccine than to get an exemption.

“Colorado ranks last when it comes to immunization rates for kindergarten-age children, and the current nationwide measles outbreak underscores the urgency of passing this legislation now, “ said Sen. Julie Gonzales, D-Denver. “We must act to keep our children and schools safe.”

But about 530 people signed up to speak about the bill at the capital on Wednesday. Most are against it.

They're upset the committee limited the hearing to four hours and were concerned their voices may not be heard.

"This is a very undemocratic process... not giving people a chance to express their concerns about something that’s going to affect their lives and their children," said Dr. Micheal Gaeta, who opposes the bill.

But other doctors are in favor of it.

"The time to act is now," Dr. Jessica Cataldi told FOX31. "And I think that there’s been plenty of time for the legislators to read about it and hear from constituents. I trust that legislators will make that a fair process."

The bill will now go to the full Senate for a vote.

However, the fate of the bill is still up in the air especially since Colorado Public Radio reported last week that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has spoken publicly against the bill.

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