In the News

By: Jeremy B. White

April 15, 2015

Bowing to concerns from parents and lawmakers that children would be denied an education, a state senator on Wednesday delayed a vote on a bill requiring most California parents to vaccinate their children as a condition of enrolling them in private or public schools.

As they did for last week’s vote, hundreds of parents, many trailing or toting children, massed in the corridors of the state Capitol to voice their strenuous opposition to Senate Bill 277. They implored lawmakers not to pass a bill they denounced for allowing the state to dictate how people raise their children.

By: Patrick McGreevy

April 14, 2015

California has become a battleground between the tobacco industry and health groups as lawmakers push proposals that include increasing cigarette taxes by $2 a pack and raising the legal smoking age from 18 to 21.

The state once led the nation in snuffing out smoking, but health activists say a strong tobacco lobby and a lack of political will have blocked new efforts in recent years.

"We used to be leaders, and we are not anymore," said Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at UC San Francisco.

By: Tracy Seipel

April 13, 2015

As he seeks to push his controversial vaccine bill through another committee vote Wednesday, Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, is expected to confront a legion of even more determined opponents than he witnessed last week when Senate Bill 277 cleared its first hurdle.

But this time, adversaries of the bill -- which would repeal the state's personal belief exemption and require that only children who have been immunized for diseases such as measles and whooping cough be admitted to a school in California -- are returning with what they say is a powerful trump card.

By: Judy Lin

April 10, 2015

ACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California bill that would sharply limit vaccination waivers after a measles outbreak at Disneyland has generated such an acidic debate that the proposal's author was under added security this week.

Authorities wouldn't specify the extra protections around state Sen. Richard Pan on Friday, but the level of anger over the measure has been clear.

Opponents have flooded the Capitol to stand up for parental rights, and images that compare Pan to Adolf Hitler have circulated online.

By: David Gorn

April 9, 2015

On Wednesday, lawmakers took the first step toward passage of a bill that would end the personal-belief exemption for childhood immunizations in California.

The Senate Committee on Health on Wednesday voted to approve SB 277 by state Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento). It would stop California parents from opting out of immunizations for their schoolchildren unless there is a medical or religious reason to refuse vaccination.

By: Judy Lin

April 9, 2015

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California lawmakers on Wednesday advanced a bill that would require schoolchildren in the state to be vaccinated amid impassioned pleas from parents and doctors, even activist Robert Kennedy Jr.

Under the proposal, parents would no longer be able to send unvaccinated kids to school with waivers citing religious or personal beliefs. Exemptions would be available only for children with health problems.

Supporters say the measure would increase the number of vaccinated young people and improve public health.

By: Curtis Skinner

April 8, 2015

(Reuters) - California lawmakers on Wednesday pushed forward a bill that would ban parents from citing their personal beliefs as a reason to let their school-going children remain unvaccinated.

The measure passed the state Senate health committee by a vote of 6-2, the bill's co-author, Democrat Richard Pan, said in a statement.

"I've personally witnessed the suffering caused by vaccine-preventable diseases, and all children deserve to be safe at school," said Pan, who is also a pediatrician.

By: Abby Ohlheiser

April 8, 2015

A bill that would tighten California’s vaccination requirements got its first public hearing in the state legislature  Wednesday. Although the proposal — which removes an exemption to the vaccination requirements based on personal belief — is in the early stages of consideration, the debate is already intense.

One Minnesota anti-vaccine group even purchased airtime for what they describe as a “public service announcement” that shows an extended shot of an infant having a seizure, KXTV reported. The 30-second ad aired Tuesday, according to the ABC affiliate.

By: Tracy Seipel

April 5, 2015

SACRAMENTO -- Democratic-led efforts to ban vaccine exemptions in Oregon and Washington state toppled one after the other last month amid fervent opposition from parents and anti-vaccine groups who say the bills would have trampled their fundamental rights to decide how to care for their own children.

Now it's California's turn to try.

By: Jennifer Lee

March 31, 2015

On Saturday March 28th, State Senator Dr. Richard Pan held a meet and greet in his reclaimed office space as a thanks to those who supported him throughout his campaign. A light lunch and stimulating conversation were provided for the people who came out.

Pan himself took every opportunity to chat with the attendees, rarely spending a moment unaccompanied. In between asking about a supporter’s family or work, he shared his political goals for his district.