OPPOSE Colorado HB 1312 attack on ALL vaccine exemptions
... and adding ENDLESS vaccine mandates
The hearing that was scheduled for 4/10/2019 for HB 1312 has been cancelled because of weather.
COLORADO ACTION ALERT: OPPOSE HB 1312
Attack on ALL Vaccine Exemptions and Adding ENDLESS Vaccine Mandates
Dear Colorado NVIC Supporters and Advocacy Team Members,
Your immediate action is needed to help stop a bill that was just introduced on 4/4/2019 and is scheduled for a public hearing Wednesday, April 10th at 1:30 PM in the House Health and Insurance Committee.
HB 1312 is an all-out assault and attempt of government takeover of personal, religious and medical belief exemptions to vaccination. The bill hijacks medical freedom and privacy and the doctor patient relationship. The bill requires the health department to mandate all vaccines routinely recommended by the CDC and allows the health department to mandate any other FDA approved vaccines in Colorado. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Mullica and Senators Gonzalez and Priola. There are also several house cosponsors.
1) Contact your Colorado State House Member and Senator and ask them to oppose HB 1312. Ask for an appointment to meet with your legislator, either at the capitol or in your district. If that is not possible, ask for a phone call. If the bill passes out of committee, it will go to the full house for a vote quickly then over to the senate or a hearing and full vote.
2) If you do not know who your Colorado State Legislators are, login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org. Click on “Check What is Happening in Your State” on the home page or “My State” on the STATE TEAMS Tab. Your personal state legislators are listed on the right side of the page. You can also find your legislators here - https://leg.colorado.gov/find-my-legislator
3) Call the Members of the House Health and Insurance Committee and ask them to VOTE NO on HB 1312 and then follow up with an email, put OPPOSE HB 1312 in the subject line. (see below for suggested talking points and contact information)
4) Plan on attending the hearing on 4/10/2019. Arrive early to sign up to testify. Testimony will be limited to 2 minutes each. If possible, arrive early and deliver a copy of your testimony and any handouts to each office of the Members of the House Health and Insurance Committee and to your own legislators. You can also provide copies of your testimony and handouts to the Committee Members when you testify. Plan on at least 15 copies. If you have never testified in a committee hearing, there is some helpful information here - https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/public_participation_in_the_legislative_process.pdf
5) Remote testimony will be available you need to sign up in advance here - https://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/WitnessR.nsf/register.xsp There are 7 locations available. At least one witness must be registered to testify at the site at least 24 hours before the hearing on the previous business day.
6) Contact Governor Polis and ask him to OPPOSE HB 1312 - https://www.colorado.gov/governor/share-your-comments
7) Login to the NVIC Advocacy Portal OFTEN to check for updates. We review bills and make updates daily. An additional information we receive will be posted on the portal. Bills can change many times over the legislative process and your timely visits, calls, and emails directed at the correct legislators are critical to this process.
8) Please forward this email to family and friends and ask them to register for the NVIC Advocacy Portal at http://NVICAdvocacy.org and share their concerns with their legislators as well. Forward any legislator responses to the Colorado State Director at [email protected]
WHAT HB 1312 PROPOSES TO DO:
See PDF text of the bill for page and line numbers (http://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2019A/bills/2019a_1312_01.pdf )
· Requires anyone using a religious or personal belief exemption to submit the exemption in person to CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) or county, district or municipal health agency on a form developed by CDPHE. The form has to be signed by a representative of the dept. (Page 6 line 22 through Page 7 line 10)
· Requires CDPHE to develop educational materials regarding only the benefits of immunizations and update those annually. (Page 5 lines 4-9)
· Requires physicians and PAs who write medical exemptions to submit that medical exemption to the tracking system. (Page 6 lines 10-13)
· Subsequent renewals of exemptions would have to be submitted online or in person to CDPHE. (Page 7 lines 10-19)
· Requires CDPHE or the county, district, or municipal health agency to submit religious or personal belief exemption data to the tracking system. (Page 8 lines 4-8)
· Requires CDPHE to adopt rules for medical exemptions based on contraindications described by ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices). (Page 8 lines 9-15)
· Requires CDPHE to report exemption information annually as part of the "State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive and Transparent Government Act" (SMART). (Page 8 lines 16-22)
· Requires CDPHE to adopt the immunization recommendations from ACIP. This means the health department would be forced to adopt the full ACIP Schedule and mandate those vaccines in Colorado. (Page 9 lines 10-14)
· Allows CDPHE to go even further than ACIP recommendations giving them authority to mandate vaccines in addition to those recommended by ACIP. (Page 9 lines 16-21)
· Allows CDPHE to adopt rules to establish the timing by which schools, parents and students must comply with the vaccine requirements. (Page 9 lines 21 - 25)
· Requires medical practitioners to submit vaccine and medical exemption data to the tracking system, but also states that they are not subject to a regulatory sanction for not complying. (Page 10 lines 11-19)
This bill should be opposed for the following reasons:
This Bill is Unnecessary and Unwise:
· Many items in HB 1312 have already been considered by the legislature in 2014 with HB 1288, and in 2016 with HB 1164. The Colorado legislature rejected forcing parents to go through additional hoops and education for exemptions in 2014 and rejected the hijacking of exemptions by the health department and the attempt to put everyone in the vaccine tracking system in 2016. Nothing has changed to justify this bill and there is no public health emergency in Colorado.
· This bill is a departure from key findings from an extensive stakeholder process on the issue of personal belief exemptions in 2013.
· The health department does not need to be part of the school enrollment process, as schools are charged with collecting and keeping all school entry documentation. This would be an unnecessary duplication of a process that is already in place and working just fine.
· Colorado DOES NOT have low immunization rates for school. According to CDPHE’s own data - For the 2017-2018 school year, 94.53% of school children are fully immunized for MMR.
Questions and Answers About Colorado’s School and Childcare Immunization Data 1 https://www.cohealthdata.dphe.state.co.us/Data/Details/21
This bill discriminates against a minority of parents who choose not to follow the one-size-fits-all vaccine schedule based on their religious or personal beliefs:
· This bill would force any parent or adult student using a personal or religious belief school vaccine exemption, for even JUST ONE vaccine, to submit the exemption IN PERSON to the health department. Those who vaccinate their children according to state school requirements will not be required submit school vaccine information to the health department.
· The exemption must be on a form developed by CDPHE (Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment). The form has to be signed by a representative of the health dept. Current law, that is working just fine, requires the parent to provide the exemption to the school. There is no reason to force parents and health departments to have to go through these unnecessary, intrusive and discriminatory steps in order to exempt or delay from one or more vaccines required for school.
· This bill was introduced very late in the legislative session. Many constituents will not be able to discuss this bill with their legislators.
Privacy protection will be lost when parents are forced to submit exemptions to CDPHE.
· Current law requires parents to submit a statement of exemption directly to the school. The privacy of those records is protected by the Federal Law, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA allows schools to disclose these records without consent to the appropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergencies. CDPHE does not need these records so they can contact parents during a disease outbreaks because there is already a process in place to handle that.
· The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) does not protect the privacy of immunization records. The reporting of immunization data to the Colorado Immunization Information System is exempt from HIPAA. CDPHE is a public health authority and HIPAA allows a public health authority to collect immunization information without an authorization (45 C.F.R., Section 164.512 (b). Physicians who administer vaccines and write medical exemptions are covered entities under HIPAA. However, they can disclose private health information without knowledge or consent to public health for the purpose of preventing or controlling disease, the conduct of public health surveillance, public health investigations, and public health interventions. Interventions recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force includes home visits.
Medical exemptions will be restricted and additional vaccines will be mandated:
· Medical exemptions would have to be written based on contraindications described by ACIP. Medical professions should be able to use their professional judgement when writing medical exemptions and not be forced to comply with the narrow contraindications published by ACIP.
· Forcing the state board of health to adopt the ACIP recommendations will add several new vaccines to what is already required for school in Colorado. This includes vaccines for HPV (Human papillomavirus) for children as young as 9 years old, Hepatitis A, Rotavirus, Meningococcal and annual flu vaccines.
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