All but one Knox County rep support tightening law

Maine House OKs eliminating most vaccination exemptions

By Stephen Betts | Apr 23, 2019
Source: File photo

Augusta — The Maine House voted Tuesday, April 23, to approve a bill that would eliminate philosophical and religious exemptions for students and some workers.

The bill, LD 798, will become law if the Senate approves the measure and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills signs the legislation.

The bill would not force anyone to be vaccinated, but vaccinations would be required for a student to attend school, and for adults working in nursery schools and health care facilities.

Students can still be exempted if there is a medical reason that they should not be vaccinated.

All Knox County legislators except independent Rep. William Pluecker of Warren voted for the legislation. Voting for it were Democratic Reps. Pinny Beebe-Center of Rockland, Vicki Doudera of Camden, Ann Matlack of St. George, Genevieve McDonald of Stonington and independent Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship.

The bill moves forward at a time when outbreaks of previously contained diseases, such as measles and whooping cough, are occurring.

The Senate has not yet voted, but Democratic state Sen. David Miramant of Camden has voiced opposition to limiting exemptions.

Pluecker said people do not need a top-down approach to telling them what medications they should give to their children.

"As a state, we have a responsibility to offer an education to all children in the state, not just those that are vaccinated. If we want to influence parents and the medical choices they make for their children, education is the best way to approach the issue, not regulation," Pluecker said.

"I feel the worry associated with low vaccination rates, but communication and education are always better options than regulation. Because of the lack of a thoughtful process with this bill, it will be interesting to see if the enforcement of this law brings another crisis to the Legislature," Pluecker concluded.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Susan McIntyre | Apr 24, 2019 17:29

Hmmm true colors coming out after voting for Pluecker.

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