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West Virginia

May 1, 2009

Senate Bill 1: Exemption From Immunization for Religious Reasons

Sponsors:
Senators Dan Foster, Jack Yost

Summary:
This bill would provide for a religious exemption from mandatory immunization. However, to qualify for this exemption, parents would have to undergo a veritable gauntlet of legal required steps. First, they would need to provide an affidavit to the commissioner of public health requesting an exemption and stating their religious convictions. Also, they would need to complete an educational course (and pay a fee for the course unless the cost would be a “hardship”) explaining the risks of failure to vaccinate and the benefits of vaccination. Parents would also need to execute an affidavit certifying that they completed and understood the course.

After filing the affidavits with the commissioner of public health and, hopefully, receiving a positive response in the form of a certificate, the parents would need to file the affidavits and certificate with their magistrate court. If the magistrate determined that these documents met the requirements of state law, he would then notify the principal of the child’s school that the child was exempt. The child would be exempt from that point forward, unless the commissioner of public health determined that the exemption posed an “unreasonable” risk to the community.

West Virginia parents need a religious exemption from immunization requirements, but, as offered, this bill fails to actually respect the right of parents to make decisions for their children based upon their religious convictions.

Status:

2/11/2009(Senate) Introduced, sent to Senate Health and Human Resources

This bill is now dead.

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose, unless amended.

Action Requested:
No action is requested at this time.

 Other Resources

Bill Text

Bill History