Reasonable Amendments Voted Down - Parents in Opposition Vow to Fight Even Harder in the Assembly
SACRAMENTO – Controversial bill SB277 cleared the Senate today with a 25-10 vote. Opponents were disappointed, but not surprised. Three senators offered amendments to address concerns with religious freedom, education about vaccine ingredients and access to education. Once again, refusing to discuss real issues, the Senate decided to hide behind procedure and table amendments with no further discussion.
"This legislation is so extreme, yet the Senate won't even consider discussing a reasonable religious exemption - something that 48 other states have. Will California actually join the ranks of Mississippi and West Virginia and deny religious freedom?" asked Jude Tovatt, member of the Canary Party.
Critics of this bill are deeply concerned that the Senate never addressed the obvious unconstitutionality of the legislation. The California Constitution guarantees children the right to a public education, and safeguards against discriminatory practices in public schools. Another issue never addressed in the Senate was the potential denial of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for special needs students that are guaranteed under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA.) Many special needs children utilize a personal belief exemption for a variety of good reasons.
However, parents opposed to SB277 are not giving up. They plan to fight this bill with great vigor in the Assembly.