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Bill would tighten rules for vaccine exemptions in Illinois

February 21, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois lawmaker wants to tighten the rules for parents seeking to exempt their children from vaccination requirements because of religious beliefs.

State Sen. John Mulroe’s legislation would require parents to submit a Department of Public Health objection form detailing their reason for seeking the exemption. The form would have to include a notarized “religious exemption statement” from a religious official.

Under current state law, parents must only submit a statement detailing their religious objection. Those objections may be personal, and don’t have to be affiliated with any organized religion.

Mulroe said the bill, filed Friday, was prompted by a recent measles outbreak in suburban Chicago. Health officials say there have been 14 confirmed cases in Illinois, all of them in Cook County. Thirteen of the 14 have bene associated with a Palatine child-care center.

Mulroe said there’s been “a groundswell” of parents in recent years who see vaccines “as a harbinger of other diseases despite evidence to the contrary.”

“What we don’t want is someone’s personal beliefs putting other people at risk, which is often the case with vaccination exemptions,” the Chicago Democrat said.

The legislation would still allow exemptions for medical reasons, provided a child’s regular doctor or medical practitioner signs the objection form.

The measure would also require the Illinois State Board of Education to publish local school district data on the number of exemptions granted on its website.

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The bill is SB1410.

Online: www.ilga.gov .

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