NYVIC (New Yorkers for Vaccination Information and Choice)


NYS Legislative Update - August 2005
Bonnie Franz
Northern NY NYVIC team member

The legislative session beginning January 1, 2005 saw many bills regarding immunization and vaccination. If you want to check them out more fully, go to www.assembly.state.ny.us/leg. Below, I will focus on a few and give some commentary.

A.8383/S.4693: bill to protect parents who decline to have their children immunized on basis of religious beliefs--to submit an affidavit. Status: Sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chairman Gottfried and about 20 other Assembly members signed on. Referred to Assembly Health Committee on May 19, 2005.
No sponsor in State Senate, but referred to Senate Health Committee on April 18, 2005.

A.883/S.303--removes requirement that religious beliefs be genuine and sincere in order to provide an exemption from mandatory immunizations for students. Status: this bill has sponsors in the Assembly, but not in the Senate.
On January 18, 2005 this bill was referred to the Assembly Health Committee.
On January 12, 2005 this bill was referred to the Senate Health Committee. There has been no further action.

A.885/S305--enacts the philosophical exemption to immunization.
Status: this bill has some sponsors in the Assembly; none in the Senate.
On January 18, 2005 this bill was referred to the Assembly Health Committee.
On January 12, 2005 this bill was referred to the Senate Health Committee.

A.8382/S.4692--extends protection of medical exemption to ensure deference to the professional assessments of physicians and nurse practitioners.
Status: Assembly has many sponsors--primarily Health Committee Chairman Gottfried; no sponsors in Senate. On May 19, 2005 referred to Assembly Health Committee. On April 18, 2005 referred to Senate Health Committee.

S.5020--authorizes nurse practitioners to certify that an immunization may be detrimental to a child's health.
No bill as yet in the Assembly. and even though no Senate sponsor, it was referred to the Senate Health Committee on April 18, 2005 and sent to the Rules Committee on June 24, 2005.

A.8761/S. 5794-A: requires immunization of every child born after January 1, 2005 against invasive pneumococcal disease. Status: In the Assembly, it was sponsored by Health Committee Chairman Gottfried only and in the Senate this bill was sponsored by the Senate Health Committee Chairman Hannon.
On June 6, 2005 introduced in the Assembly Health Committee, passed full Assembly on June 21, 2005 and on that same day 1) sent to the Senate and 2) sent to the Rules Committee.

A.5543c/S.2707c: regarding mercury in vaccines--dosage and "authorizes the commissioner of health to grant an exemption in cases of disease outbreaks and vaccine shortages." To be effective in 2008. (this means that the law will still allow a certain amount of mercury in vaccines and vaccines with mercury can be used in an outbreak if the Health Commissioner so decides or with vaccine "shortages." Status: Many sponsors in the Assembly; Senate has about 5 sponsors.
Referred to Assembly Health Committee on February 24,2005. By June 20, 2005 it was amended to be bill #5543c and passed the full Assembly on June 23. In the Senate Health Committee this bill was referred on February 24, 2005 and on June 23 returned to the Senate.

A.6620/S.5325: provides for additional reports of the advisory council on immunization and extends the expiration date of demonstration projects--namely, the Statewide immunization registry that is to include children, adolescents and "eventually adults." This bill is effective immediately.
Status: It was sponsored in the Assembly by Health Committee Chairman, Gottfried and cosponsored by Assemblywoman Jacobs (chair of Social Services Com). This bill was referred to the Health Committee on March 17, 2005, passed the full Assembly on April 11 and sent to the Senate and passed the full Senate on June 21 and delivered to the Governor on June 24 and signed as Chapter 145 on June 30.

1) It is interesting to see that when lawmakers want a bill passed, it gets passed--and rather quickly.
2) Notice that the vaccine bills that are becoming law are those that mandate more vaccines or bills dealing with great publicity, such as mercury and the more quietly insidious ones, such as vaccine tracking with a Statewide registry.
3) Notice that the mercury removal bill doesn't require the immediate removal of mercury from vaccines, but allows it until 2008. This is similar to when medical officials admitted that the oral polio vaccine caused polio and decided to go to the injected vaccine, but let oral polio remain on the market for doctors to use so that drug companies wouldn't lose money and have to "throw out" and waste vaccine.

If you want to see voluntary vaccination or philosophical exemption become law in NYS, then lawmakers need to see and hear you make it an issue - and ask your State Senator and Assemblyman to vote for such bills. Or, on the other hand, if you are against the immunization tracking system, aka Statewide immunization registry, then you need to also let them know that.

Lawmakers are in their home districts now so it is easier for you (and friends) to visit them until the legislative session opens on January 1, 2006. Any bills not passed by the end of the 2006 session (Election year) must be reintroduced and go through the process again in 2007. 

Return to New Bills menu page for state representative contact information

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