By Jefferey Jaxen

The story that has unfolded in Oregon surrounding House Bill 3063 (HB 3063) has been both fast-moving and historically significant. Although simply skimming through headlines and tired write-ups delivered from most mainstream media reporting concerning the issue makes it difficult to grasp the full story. 

The bill would eliminate all non-medical exemptions to vaccination in Oregon. It would also require government health boards to review medical exemptions written by health care professionals.

Oregon State Senator Kim Thatcher testified during the bill’s legislation session stating, “The Oregon health authority will be given the green light to dictate to families what drugs will be administered to their children in order to gain admittance into schools they pay for with their tax dollars.” 

In just a short time since it was introduced in February, HB 3063 has been fast-tracked in the face of immense opposition. As in Colorado, New York and other states with similar flavors of mandatory vaccine bills, massive numbers have appeared at state houses and legislative office buildings in a show of public opposition. Rather than celebrate HB 3063 and welcome open debate, the bill’s sponsors have placed hardships on Oregonians who oppose it with unannounced or often last minute schedule changes in attempts to stifle activism and testimony at the capital. Despite such obstacles and roadblocks, the public has adapted and overcome to activate at the state and community level in opposition to the bill. The culmination was seen recently in Salam, Oregon where scores of citizens held a impassioned rally on the steps.  

Perhaps the biggest story were the students who appeared and spoke at the Salem rally. Identifying themselves as the Oregonians for Medical Freedom Student Group, the students each took to the microphone to express why they opposed the bill. Hearing from the Oregon teenagers who would be directly impacted by the bill’s passing added another powerful dimension to the already mounting public opposition. One student named Meria stated, “I am a competitive athlete and national champion in my age group. HB 3063 would prevent me from training with my team, competing in any other competition, and I wouldn’t be able to stay in my school.” 

Another student name Simone stated, I competitively rock climb, play lacrosse and downhill ski. Passing HB 3063 would not only take me out of my school but also take me away from my sports teams and doing what I love.

Yet another student named Jackson stated, “This bill will crush many students’ social lives which is a very important part of what makes them the person they will grow into. This bill will force parents and children to choose between giving up their friends and education or sacrificing their health and morals.

It wasn’t just the students who stood alongside the parents in protest of HB 3036. Several Oregon officials also had public words to say in opposition. Oregon Representative Cedric Hayden, who also serves as the Vice-Chair for the House Committee for Health Care spoke at the rally regarding the narrow medical exemption allowed if HB 3063 is passed. Rep Hayden stated, “…with medical exemptions [if the bill is passed] it’s not between a doctor and a parent and a child to make that decision…There really isn’t an exemption under the bill that’s coming forward …it’s so narrow.

Oregon State Senator Dennis Linthicum addressed the crowd saying, “This is a force like we’ve never seen at the capital. It’s public pressure that will count. Right now there’s too much investment in this. There’s too much money to be made. There’s too many powerful interests seeking their own. This is cronyism at its worst….it’s your job to storm this building and stop this overreach.” 

HB 3063 has recently passed the House and is now headed to the Senate which is rumored to happen as early as next week. 

For Oregonians who oppose the bill, it is imperative to contact your Oregon State Senator and ask them to vote no on HB 3063 when it comes up for a vote on the floor. For more information, bill tracking and alerts, visit The National Vaccine Information Center’s advocacy portal