SALEM, OR -- A controversial bill that would ban non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccines in Oregon is advancing in Salem. State Representative Cheri Helt (R-Bend) is a chief sponsor. She says she’s listening to critics – many from her own party – who say it infringes on parental rights, "Everyone’s heart is in the right place. So, it’s really important to me that I hear from other people, I listen to their opinions and I’m able to work through and try and find a solution that fits as best as possible."
She tells KBND News she wants to make sure no vaccines can be added to the list of what's currently required to attend school or daycare, "In the amendment that I put forward, we made sure that nothing was added. And, flu vaccines are not in there, and HPV is not in there. These [in the bill] are the vaccinations that have been required. Nothing has changed for the last 10 years for requirements for school-aged children in Oregon." She adds, "This bill is to the current list that’s been in place for the last 10 years, and nothing can be added to the bill; nothing. I want to be clear on that. You’d have to introduce a new bill."
HB 3063 still has a long way to go. It was approved March 14 by the House Health Care Committee, in a seven to four vote, with a "do pass" recommendation. Thursday, March 21, the bill and its latest amendments moved to the Joint Ways and Means Committee, which would need to clear it for a full House vote. If passed, it would then go to the Senate.