In a contentious debate on May 6, the House of Representatives passed a bill to increase immunization rates in Oregon.

House Bill 3063B was brought forward largely in response to the recent measles outbreak in Clark County, Washington and the subsequent Oregon cases.

HB 3063B would require children attending schools or children’s facilities to either complete the required immunizations or for the child’s parent/guardian to work with a health care provider and submit a medical exemption. A child who is not immunized and has not provided documentation of a medical diagnosis exemption would be able to continue to attend school until August 1, 2020. The bill streamlines the process by which a medical exemption can be filed and creates a reporting requirement for the Oregon Health Authority and for boards to review exemptions for reasonableness under requirements of the bill. These boards must then file annual reports regarding exemptions.

Current Oregon law requires that as a condition to attend schools or children’s facilities in Oregon through grade 12, that each child be vaccinated against 11 vaccine-preventable diseases, unless an exemption for medical and/or religious or philosophical belief is obtained. HB 3063B would remove the current exemption for religious or philosophical beliefs.

The Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) Legislative Committee took a position in support of the bill with several dissenting votes.

HB 3063B was passed on a 35-25 vote, and now moves to the Senate floor for consideration. Two Republicans voted for the measure and four Democrats voted against the bill.

Contributed by: Megan Chuinard | Public Affairs Associate