Although I favor repealing the philosophical exemption for childhood vaccinations, I’ve been predicting that the issue will be pulled from the House calendar due to (1) time constraints and (2) unwillingness to tackle yet another controversy.
Looks like I was wrong.
House Speaker Shap Smith was on WDEV’s Mark Johnson Show this morning, and he indicated that the vaccine bill (H.98) would be up for a vote on Tuesday. In his own typically oblique way; if pressed on his answer, I’m sure he’d say that he didn’t promise a vote on Tuesday. Here are his exact words:
It’s very possible that it could come to a vote on Tuesday in the House. It’s not a caucus issue; I don’t think it’s a caucus issue on either side. It looks to me that there is signifant support to remove the philosophical exemption; I think there’s some room around that to maybe give people time to address that. I don’t know when the implementation date will be for it, whether there needs to be a transition plan for schools. There are a number of internal issues that we’ve got to deal with, but it would not surprise me to see that come to the floor next week.
Cute. The guy who’s in charge of scheduling the calendar says “it would not surprise me” to see the bill pop up on the calendar. Hahaha.
Johnson redirect: “That was something you weren’t really pushing in January.” Smith:
No, it was not a priority of the House, but it is here, and whether we deal with it this year or next year, it’s gonna be in front of the House. We are trying to make sure that people feel heard on the issue, and give it its due, and move it forward.
Again, there’s no explicit promise, but when he finishes by saying “move it forward,” I believe he aims to resolve the question this session instead of letting it longer into 2016.
Also, this from VPR’s Peter Hirschfeld:
Rep. Bill Lippert says 'more likely than not' that bill revoking philosophical exmption for vaccines will hit House floor this year #VPRNews
— Peter Hirschfeld (@PeteHirschfeld) May 8, 2015
Lippert is chair of the House Health Care Committee, which has been taking testimony on H.98 all week, and will host a public hearing Monday afternoon.
Maybe the leadership has decided to get this over with (#lancetheboil) instead of having to revisit it next year. Which is, need I say, an election year.