Controversial vaccination bill abandoned in Colorado Senate

Data pix.

DENVER -- Colorado lawmakers will not change the state's immunization laws this session.

Senate staffers confirm HB-1312 has been laid over until Friday. That does not give it enough time to pass the General Assembly.

HB-1312 would have required parents who do not vaccinate their child to submit a waiver in person.

According to statute, in order to pass the General Assembly, bills must be read and debated on separate days.

HB-1312 is on second reading and bills need three readings to pass. The General Assembly's annual session is over at midnight Friday.

The decision by lawmakers is a victory for the hundreds of anti-vaccinators who testified at the Capitol this session.

And it's a defeat for the medical community who believed lawmakers must address the state's low vaccination rate.

Sources say one of the major reasons the bill will not be debated on the floor Thursday is opposition from Gov. Jared Polis.

Colorado Public Radio reported last week that Polis did not like the fact parents who chose not to vaccinate their child had to submit a waiver in person with their health department.

“We are very disappointed in the last-minute actions of the Senate and their unwillingness to addressing an urgent public health concern in our state," said Stephanie Wasserman, executive director of the Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition.

"Legislators have put politics over the health and safety of our children. House Bill 1312 was a Colorado-specific solution supported by science and evidence. It was a modest bill, the result of tireless effort to address a variety of stakeholder concerns that balanced public health with parental choice.

"Colorado legislators had an opportunity to help increase the state’s immunization rates. Instead of keeping our children and schools safe, they have chosen to put them at risk.

"All of this will not go unnoticed by the overwhelming  majority of Coloradans who support a stronger exemption process."

A spokesperson for the governor's office sent the following statement:

“The Governor appreciates Rep. Mullica and Senators Gonzales and Priola’s leadership in efforts to increase vaccination rates. Improving the immunization rate is a top priority of our administration and through the Department of Public Health and Environment we will continue to identify best strategies. We look forward to working with Rep. Mullica, Sen. Gonzalez, Sen. Priola and others to protect public health.”

On Wednesday night, about 530 people signed up to speak about the bill. Most were against it.

They were 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 opposed the bill.

Data pix.
AlertMe
Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.