UPDATE 4/2: HB 1312 IS BEING REPORTED DEAD BY THE DENVER POST
Without prior warning or notice to the public, Colorado’s highly controversial House Bill 1312 was just read and introduced in the Colorado Senate and will have a hearing today May 1, 2019 in the Finance Committee after the full Senate adjourns for the afternoon. The bill would require parents who want to exempt their kids from vaccinations for personal or religious reasons to fill out a form at a state health department location.
Coloradans hoping to be present or testify on this bill during the surprise hearing will now face the potential of a timing and logistical hardship to get to the capitol as soon as possible to wait in line. The motives to rush the bill have not been made public yet the bill has faced public opposition and protest at each hearing and voting juncture during its legislative travel to the Senate.
Phil Silberman of Colorado Coalition For Vaccine Choice said of the rushed timing:
“We just found out this morning that this bill was introduced. Typically they give you 24 hours notice. They could have introduced it last night but they didn’t. Presently we have about 400 people and growing signed up to testify with about 2 hrs notice. There are still people coming in from all over the state. We’re hoping for two min [to testify] each”
Silberman went on to comment, “I was really surprised this bill was introduced this morning. It’s just going to bog down the democratic process. It could go into the wee hours of the morning.”
HB 1312 still faces several hurdles before it has the potential to become law. The bill is in committee today which, if it makes it out, will move to the Senate floor tomorrow for a second reading as the Friday deadline approaches.
Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, R-Parker, thinks the bill should be postponed indefinitely to make room for bipartisan bills that also need to pass in the final week.“The (vaccine) bill took something like 15 hours in House committees, and the parents who were here to oppose that bill have been telling us they are bringing more people, not less,” he said. “Is that a 20-hour obligation? 25 hours? That’s a quarter of our time left.”
According to the National Vaccine Information Center, if passes as is, the controversial bill will discriminate against people who make informed decisions to delay or decline vaccination for religious or personal reasons, violate the doctor-patient relations and privacy, forces students into a tracking system, eliminate school privacy rights and usurps the Board of Health’s authority by forcing them to add hepatitis A and meningococcal vaccines for school and rotavirus vaccines for infants.