The Senate voted on HB176 & HB74!
HB176 by Representative Leger changed the age for receiving the required meningitis booster to 16 years old. It did not affect exemptions.
HB74 by Representative Davis requires schools to provide information about the flu and the flu vaccine. It does not require students to get the flu shot.
Fiorella Trapani and Ashley Houston, Co-Directors of HFL, were able to go to the Capitol on Wednesday, April 18 to testify for both bills in the Senate Health & Welfare Committee Hearing. You can see their testimonies here.
HB176 begins at 23:08 with their testimony at 38:40 – 56:16
HB74 begins at 1:40:20 with their testimony at 1:45:25 – 1:54:25
- Senator Milkovich proposed our amendment to HB74 (requires schools to give out a flu shot flyer). He voiced our concerns with the bill and mentioned some great facts on the risks of the flu shot!
- Senator Mills, the Chairman of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee, proposed an amendment to HB176. It wasn’t the exact wording we wanted but we believe it accomplishes what we need and is actually broader in scope so may even be stronger.
- While proposing the amendment to HB176 Senator Mills referred to us as “anti vaccine moms” (he didn’t mean it in a derogatory way). Right after though, Senator Claitor went to the podium to speak and corrected Senator Mills on calling us that! He said that we are “pro wanting to know what goes into our children’s bodies and that’s a fair thing for them to want to know”. Way to go Senator Claitor! Thank you for standing up for us! And Senator Mills graciously accepted his comment and even apologized! Thank you Senator Mills for listening to what we had to say and doing something about it! (Check out the video of this posted below, it’s great!)
- Representative Leger (author of HB176) met with us to discuss the amendment and he was very helpful and open to our concerns. It will likely easily pass the House since the bill and the amendment has his support.
- Senator Mizell backed us on both amendments and was willing to help us throughout the process
Please consider expressing your appreciation and thanks to these legislators who helped us get a good amendment passed for HB176. You can click on each of their names which will bring you to their legislative webpage with their contact information, or you can click here where we compiled all their information into one document for easy reference.
- The amendment we wanted for HB74 did NOT pass. When it comes to distributing information about the flu shot they were very close-minded and eager to pass the bill as it was.
Overall, we’re calling this a WIN! The amendment to HB176 states: “Any written communication issued to students pursuant to this Section shall include notice that the student’s parent, tutor, or legal guardian may be exempt from compliance with this Section under the conditions set forth in Subsection (B) of this Section.” That means that whenever schools or anyone send out information about the required meningitis booster, they have to also include the right of the parents to opt out!
Of course we’re not happy that HB74 passed. But that didn’t require the flu shot, it requires schools to pass out information (albeit biased) on the flu shot. Not ideal, but the bigger issue really was HB176. And we won that! So we’re going to celebrate our win and continue to work on becoming a stronger voice for informed consent and parental rights!
Looking to the Future
This is just the start! One of the next things we need to do is to have the same amendment for the other section(s) of law that deal with immunization requirements. We know that schools are consistently and purposefully misleading parents and denying exemptions. Compelling them to state parents’ rights to be exempt from the immunization requirement on the notice will hopefully solve the problem and hold the schools accountable to comply with the law.
But we can’t do it without your help! We need everyone to:
- become members of HFL;
- be in frequent contact with their legislators;
- build relationships with them;
- educate them on the issues (you can distribute our flyers, send them to our website, etc.);
- voice to them your support/opposition to bills that arise;
- spread the word about our group so we can continually grow and educate parents of their rights;
- consider donating! We are a grassroots organization and we survive on donations to cover the costs of our website, printing materials for legislators and the public, putting on events, etc.
A HUGE THANKS to our Regional Leaders and everyone else that stepped up and helped us with these two bills AND our Rotunda Day event this past Monday, April 30 (post coming soon!)!!!
WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU!!!
Watch the Bills Being Heard in the Senate
Below is the broadcast archive of the two bills (and their amendments) being discussed and voted on the Senate floor.
Scroll to 2:41 for HB74 (flu shot flyer) and to 2:57 for HB176 (meningitis booster). Senator Claitor speaking up in defense of us can be seen at 3:00.
You can also check out our video below which was posted on our public facebook page and explains what happened: