With New York recently removing religious exemptions and California’s bill putting bureaucrats, not doctors, in charge of medical decisions, Florida has now introduced its new bill drawing from both states. 

SB 64 would eliminate the religious exemption to vaccines required for public and private school children.  It would also add a new section of law requiring the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine to jointly create a medical exemption review panel that shall review all medical exemptions.” –The National Vaccine Information Center

A recent action alert was posted at The National Vaccine Information Center’s (NIVC) advocacy portal stating:

“We have seen what happens to families in California and New York where religious exemptions have been removed and medical exemptions are reviewed and restricted. SB 64 is a dangerous bill that needs to be stopped early so Florida doesn’t become like California or New York.

The 2020 legislative session in Florida convenes on 1/14/2020, however bills are filed in advance (session dates). It is very important that families who support the religious and medical exemptions get out ahead of Senator Book’s effort and talk to their legislators and like-minded families to get involved now! Those who are currently in office during this interim period will be the same legislators who will vote on this bill this spring as statewide legislative offices are not on the ballot this fall.”

The bill titled Exemptions from School-entry Health Requirements was filed by Democratic Senator Lauren Book on August 2. In 2015 a bill that would have severely restricted exemptions was prefiled in Florida.  However, the bill was withdrawn eleven days later with the help of Florida NVIC Advocacy Members and other Florida citizens who expressed their concerns early and in large numbers.

NVIC’s advocacy portal suggests the following actions for those concerned about Florida’s new bill:

  1. Contact your Florida state senator and state representative and respectfully ask them to oppose SB 64 in the 2020 legislative session. 
    1. As soon as possible, schedule an in-person meeting with your state senator and representative to express to them how important it is to your family to have religious and unrestricted medical exemptions available. Share your vaccine reaction, denial of medical care, and harassment or discrimination stories. 
    2. Email your state senator and representative also using their preferred method of contact (see d.)
    3. Attend events where your legislators may be speaking or presenting and express your concerns there as well.  Follow your legislators on social media so you can know when and where they will be attending and speaking during the interim so that you can attend and have opportunities to provide more information and ask questions.
    4. Legislative contact information: you can login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal, click on the “State Teams” tab and then “My State,” and your elected officials are automatically posted on the right hand side of the page. You can click on their name to display contact information and social media accounts that you can follow. You can also find your representatives here and senators here.
  2. Contact the sponsor Senator Lauren Book and respectfully ask her to withdraw SB 64. Be polite and explain how important religious and unrestricted medical exemptions to vaccination are for you and your family. Share your vaccine reaction, denial of medical care, and harassment or discrimination stories.  Contact information for Senator Book is posted at http://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/S32.   
  3. Login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal OFTEN to check for updates.  We review bills and make updates daily. Bills can change many times over the legislative process and your timely visits, calls, and emails directed at the correct legislators are critical to this process. Even though the Florida legislature is not currently in session, you can see how this is important because bills are already being filed.
  4. Please forward this email to family and friends and ask them to register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and share their concerns with their legislators as well.   If you wish to share this alert on social media, go to the notes on the National Vaccine Information Center’s Facebook page and share it from there.
  5. Please forward any legislative responses you receive or a summary of your meetings to our Florida State Director Toni and our Florida affiliated group Health Freedom Florida at [email protected].

Recent legislative action in Florida has seen a bill to mandate HPV vaccines be indefinitely postponed and withdrawn in Health Committees. Another bill that would have required students 12 to 18 years old to document an adolescent well-care examination every year for school also failed. However, a bill requiring mandatory reporting and tracking vaccine registry of citizens by health care practitioners was approved by the Governor on June 18.