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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed bills Monday to crack down on doctors who write fraudulent medical exemptions for school children’s vaccinations.
The Democratic governor quietly acted less than an hour after lawmakers sent him changes he demanded as a condition of approving the bills, even as protesters outside his office chanted for him to veto the measures.
Legislators - Changes - Protests - Hundreds - Opponents
Legislators approved the changes as protests by hundreds of emotional opponents boiled over, with dissenters delaying Senate debate for nearly two hours by shouting and pounding on walls and doors.
Others were detained by police earlier while blocking entrances to the Capitol as lawmakers scrambled to act on bills before their scheduled adjournment on Friday.
Legislation - Tools - Health - Way - Parents
“This legislation provides new tools to better protect public health, and does so in a way that ensures parents, doctors, public health officials and school administrators all know the rules of the road moving forward,” Newsom said in a statement.
Lawmakers sent Newsom the initial bill last week aimed at doctors who sell fraudulent medical exemptions. Democratic Sen. Richard Pan of San Francisco agreed to also carry follow-up legislation that, among other things, would give school children grace periods that could last several years on existing medical exemptions.
Bills - Children - Diseases - Pan
The two bills are needed to “keep children safe from preventable diseases,” Pan said.
The effort was co-sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Medical Association and the advocacy group Vaccinate California, all of which hailed their final approval.
Protesters - Delays - Assembly - Senate - Flag
Protesters forced delays in both the Assembly and Senate. They unfurled an upside-down American flag from the Senate’s public gallery in a traditional signal of distress and chanted “My kids, my choice” and “We will not comply.”
They later returned to the Assembly, where they continued shouting “Kill the bill” and...
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