By Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
Final Update on HB19-1312
Thank you all for your efforts and prayers during this past month of fighting to maintain parental rights. In early April, a bill (HB19-1312 School Immunization Requirements) was introduced to broaden the authority of the government to curtail a parent’s ability to exercise their right to direct the medical care of the child, as well as significantly expand the immunization tracking program in the state. CHEC quickly went to work to get the word out.
The first hearing set to be heard in the House was postponed because of a blizzard that hit the Capitol. Five days later, the hearing in the House Health & Insurance Committee lasted over 13 hours — well past 3 am the following morning. Attempts to amend the bill in committee were met with a definitive “no” from the sponsor. The bill was then debated on the House floor for over 6 1/2 hours, beginning at 8 pm and going until early the next morning. During the floor debate, many amendments were proposed, but only those brought by the sponsor passed. One of those amendments kept all homeschoolers from having to adhere to the newly proposed rules concerning exemptions.
The amended bill passed the House on a mostly party line vote and was sent over to the Senate. The Senate delayed introducing the bill until three days before the end of session. Within hours of being introduced, it was announced the bill would be heard that evening. Although over 600 people signed up to testify against the bill, the committee chair limited testimony to only two hours on each side. This meant that all the people supporting the bill were heard and only a small fraction of those opposed were permitted to speak. No amendments were offered during this hearing, but many concerns were expressed about the bill by committee members. It was clear more work needed to be done on the bill before the majority party would have the votes to pass it.
Time was running out and the opposition to the bill was fierce. If the majority party wanted to get the large number of bills still sitting on the calendar out of the Senate, they were going to need to prioritize and the minority party wasn’t going to let them pass HB19-1312 without a fight. In the end, the vaccine bill proved not to be a priority for them this year.
I give all the glory to God for defeating this bill. The delays, by legislators and weather events, played a key role, and I have no doubt that God orchestrated it all. I want to caution you though — this bill will be back in a future legislative session, and it will probably be worse. We need to be ready. One thing I ask of you in preparing for the next battle: Will you consider what will you sacrifice for freedom? What price will you pay for your children’s future?
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty — power is ever stealing from the many for the few.”
- All the parents who wrote emails, made phone calls, and/or came to testify. The pressure your efforts placed on the legislators is immeasurable!
- Mike Donnelly, Jim Mason, and Mike Smith with HSLDA for their help crafting an amendment to the bill.
- Representatives Tim Geitner and Mark Baisley for battling with us in the House Health & Insurance Committee and so much more!
- Representatives Patrick Neville, Susan Beckman, Lori Saine, Kim Ransom, and Dave Williams for their support on the House floor and throughout this process.
- Honorable mention to Representatives Buck, Carver, Humphrey, Landgraf, Lewis, Liston, Pelton, Rich, Sandridge, Soper, and VanWinkle for speaking in our defense on the House floor.
- Senators Owen Hill, Paul Lundeen, and Rob Woodward for battling with us in the Senate Finance Committee.
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Legislative Liaison