State lawmakers pushing for laxer vaccine rules despite measles outbreaks

Victoria Colliver:

We still get messages that say these diseases are good for you. And that old ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,'” said Oregon state Rep. Mitch Greenlick, who is pushing for stricter vaccination requirements. He has introduced a bill, OR HB3063, to eliminate all vaccine exemptions except for those based on medical grounds.

Greenlick, a retired Kaiser Permanente research executive, said harassing phone calls drove him to send all calls to voicemail after he announced the legislation. He attributed the vitriol to the combination of misinformation online and the state’s strong independent streak.

Vaccine policy isn’t a red-state, blue-state issue. Mississippi and West Virginia — both GOP stalwarts — have the most restrictive policies in the country, for historical reasons, and have staved off legislative and legal efforts to loosen them. Exemptions in both states are allowed only for medical reasons, and even those medical exemptions are subject to review. West Virginia this session is considering a bill, WV SB454, that would add back the religious and personal objection exemptions.