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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PALO ALTO, CA — The defeat of State Senator John Moorlach in his re-election sends a strong message to politicians who pander to the anti-vaccine extremists and put politics over the health of their constituents. Voters responded to the anti-vaccine and anti-science rhetoric of John Moorlach by soundly rejecting him in his bid for re-election.
“California is a leader in using science to guide public policy,” said Leah Russin, co-founder of Vaccinate California. “By rejecting those who embrace conspiracies while ignoring facts, voters have ensured we will continue to protect our communities by relying on science.”
“The voters are telling people holding public office — Californians want safe and healthy communities,” said Dr. Richard Pan, state senator and author of two recent California vaccination laws. “The people want to hear the truth and expect elected officials to make decisions based on facts and science to protect their families.”
In the State Senate, Sen. Moorlach not only opposed public health legislation, he pandered to anti-vaccine extremists, including Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced researcher who fraudulently claimed vaccines caused autism.
Sen. Moorlach voted against the provaccine bills authored by Dr. Richard Pan SB 277 in 2015 and SB 276 in 2019 during major measles outbreaks. SB 277 abolished non-medical exemptions for immunizations required for school entry, while SB 276 provided public health oversight over medical exemptions to ensure fake medical exemptions could not undermine vaccination rates at schools.
On the floor of the California State Senate, Sen. Moorlach made speeches repeating baseless anti-vaccination conspiracy theories, headlined anti-vaccine rallies and became a high-profile cheerleader for the movement. While vaccines must undergo rigorous testing for safety both before and after FDA approval, in Sen. Moorlach’s floor speech against SB 276, he falsely claimed vaccines haven’t been tested for safety in 32 years — a verifiably false statement made by anti-vaxxers.
While serving in the State Senate, Sen. Moorlach has taken many extreme positions against science, including his denial of climate change, voting against legislation to protect children and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases while providing support for anti-vaccine conspiracies and voting against funding for public health during a pandemic.
After serving as a county supervisor, Sen. Moorlach was first elected to the 37th Senate District in a 2015 special election held to fill a vacancy when Mimi Walters was elected to congress. He then won reelection in 2016, defeating his Democratic challenger by 14 percentage points. Incumbent GOP State Senator John Moorlach ran for reelection this year in the state’s 37th Senate District, covering traditionally conservative, central Orange County. Sen. Moorlach’s anti-vaccine, anti-science stance became a central issue in the campaign as David Min and pro-science advocates highlighted Sen. Moorlach’s positions. On November 7, UC Irvine law professor Dave Min declared victory in his campaign to represent the 37th Senate District, defeating Sen. Moorlach.
“Voters had their say on November 3rd, and the people declared they want a representative who will protect their families from preventable diseases,” added Pan.
“Vaccinate California is eager to work with Senator-elect Min on science-minded policies that will benefit our communities,” said Russin.
First Partner Jennifer Newsom expresses sympathy with those who opposed SB276/714, and explains that the Department is consulting functional and integrative “doctors.” Functional and Integrative “Medicine” are non-evidence based alternatives to traditional science. She also thinks people should be able to delay vaccines and choose among them — which by the way, they can, they just can’t delay vaccines and send their kids to school. The dialogue about SB276/714 is done — the parents whose children need protection from vaccine-preventable disease are counting on full implementation without delay.
/ News /
Vaccinate California Applauds Governor Newsom for Signing Senate Bill 276 and SB 714 to Protect Our Children and Communities from Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
SB 276 and S B714 will protect ‘community immunity’ by preventing physicians from selling fraudulent vaccine exemptions from school-required vaccinations.
SACRAMENTO – Vaccinate California and thousands of families from across the state today applauded Governor Gavin Newsom for signing Senate Bills 276 and 714 which would protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases. The landmark legislation will require health officials to approve requests for medical exemptions to school-required vaccinations and grant officials the authority to revoke medical exemptions if they are found to be fraudulent or inconsistent with state guidelines.
“Senate Bill 276 will help protect children in our schools who cannot be vaccinated – such as newborns, children with serious allergies, or children with weakened or failing immune systems, such as children living with cancer – and the small percentage of children for whom immunizations do not work, and as a result, all our communities will be stronger,” said Vaccinate California Executive Director and Cofounder Leah Russin. “We applaud Governor Newsom for signing SB 276 and SB 714 and we are grateful to Dr. Pan and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez for their leadership in helping to ensure that medical exemptions can be reviewed and, where appropriate, invalidated. This bill is a testament to the thousands of parents across the state who made their voices heard – who wrote letters, made calls, enlisted their friends, showed up at town halls, and testified at hearings – all so that our children would be safe from vaccine-preventable disease in schools, and so that science and public health could prevail over fear and misinformation.”
Quotes from Vaccinate California parent members:
“The passing of this bill means that immune compromised members of our community will finally have better protection in schools like the Waldorf charter my children attended.” — Hannah Henry, mother of four from Napa, co-founder of Vaccinate California.
“I’m so grateful this legislation will be implemented quickly, so that it can protect children like my daughter, who had a heart transplant and will be on immune-suppressing therapy for the rest of her life. She is very vulnerable to diseases like measles, and this legislation will dramatically reduce the chance she is ever exposed.” — Jenni Balck, mother of a 10-year-old heart transplant recipient, member of Vaccinate California, Orange County.
“I have a newborn as well as three older children, and I’m thrilled that this legislation means that parents like me can worry a little less about vaccine preventable diseases like measles.” — Kayla Colburn, mother of four children, nurse, lactation consultant, and member of Vaccinate California, Redding.
“As a mother and a pediatrician, I am so grateful the legislature has stepped up again to address the issue of unjustified exemptions to school vaccine requirements. I am very confident that implementation of this legislation will ensure that exemptions receive appropriate scrutiny so that those who need them will get them, and that all children will be safer in school.” — Dr. Lisa Meneses, mother of three, pediatrician in West Sacramento, and member of Vaccinate California.
“This bill means that infants like mine will be far less likely to be exposed to preventable diseases like measles at daycare and the doctor’s office. It cannot be implemented soon enough for me.” — Sheila Warren, lawyer and mother of three, member of Vaccinate California, San Francisco.
“As a father of two, and someone who will take immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of my life, I am so proud that my state has passed SB276. This legislation ensures that transplant patients like me can volunteer at our children’s schools and worry less about being exposed to deadly diseases like measles.” –— Michael Levinson, liver transplant recipient and father of two, Menlo Park, CA.
“I am so grateful to our California legislature for the passage of SB 276. As a pediatric oncology nurse for the last 33 years I know first-hand how important it is to ensure that we protect the most medically vulnerable among us from vaccine preventable infectious diseases. Children with cancer whose immune systems are damaged by chemotherapy want to be able to move about their communities without fear of exposure. Their parents are breathing a sigh of relief with the passage of this crucial legislation.” — Wendy Bloom, pediatric oncology nurse, mother and grandmother and member of Vaccinate California, Berkeley CA.
“In high school, I had to undergo chemotherapy which meant I lost my immunity to most diseases. When I returned to school, I was very vulnerable and wasn’t well enough to be vaccinated until recently. This legislation will protect students like me from exposure to diseases during a transitional period when we are trying to return to a normal life. Knowing that everyone else, who can be, is vaccinated will be huge relief.” — Mela Seyoum, college student from the Bay Area
Senate Bill 276 is cosponsored by Vaccinate California, California Medical Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
About Vaccinate California
Vaccinate California is a grassroots coalition of thousands of pro-vaccination parents, educators, health professionals and other advocates working to raise vaccination rates in California and protect children and communities. For more information about Vaccinate California, please visit, www.vaccinatecalifornia.org, Twitter, and/or Facebook.
Vaccinate California and thousands of parents across the state applaud Governor Newsom and Dr. Pan for reaching an agreement to advance Senate Bill 276 and for helping to protect our children from vaccine-preventable diseases. Today’s agreement is a victory for science over fear and for sound public health policy over conspiracy and misinformation. We urge Governor Newsom to sign SB 276 immediately.
No parent should have to make the choice to pull their child from school to protect them from vaccine-preventable illness. That is why parents from Vaccinate California have made their voices heard in support of SB276 – to help protect our communities and ensure that no schools in California have unsafe numbers of unvaccinated students. Unvaccinated children are at higher risk for contagious disease — in schools, in physician waiting rooms, on playgrounds, on public transportation and elsewhere — and they pose a significant risk to infants and immunocompromised children, including cancer patients and children who have had organ transplants. These children — the most vulnerable among us — need the rest of us to be vaccinated.
The parents of Vaccinate California are grateful to Dr. Pan and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez for the leadership and the courage they have shown in bringing SB 276 to this point as well as Senate President Pro Tem Atkins for backing her legislative colleagues. Because of their efforts to ensure that medical exemptions can be reviewed and invalidated where appropriate, more of our children will be protected from vaccine-preventable illnesses in schools.
Vaccinate California and parents across the state applaud the members of the California state legislature for passing Senate Bill 276 and taking strong action to protect our children and our communities from vaccine-preventable illness. Infants, immunocompromised children, cancer patients, children who have had organ transplants and other vulnerable populations need us all to keep fighting for this bill until it becomes law. We urge Governor Newsom to sign SB 276 immediately to help ensure that fraudulent medical exemptions can be reviewed and invalidated where appropriate and that our children are protected from vaccine-preventable disease in schools.
SB276 cleared the Assembly floor this afternoon! Call your Assembly member and thank them! Next, call your senator, because the bill has been amended since the Senate last voted on it, so they need to approve it a second time. And then, call Governor Newsom, who indicated in June that he was willing to sign the bill with the changes that were made to the Assembly version.
SB276 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Friday, Aug. 30! It now heads to the Assembly floor! Get those calls in to your legislators. We don’t yet know the date when they will vote, but Assembly members need to hear from you that you support the bill. Head to our Take Action page, or find your Assembly member here.