Tim Donnelly pushing for referendum on vaccination law
July 2, 2015
Former California assemblyman Tim Donnelly is attempting to launch a statewide referendum on a mandatory vaccination law that Gov. Jerry Brown signed on Tuesday. [LA Times]
The law will eliminate a provision that has allowed parents to cite personal or religious beliefs as valid reasons to avoid vaccinating their schoolchildren. When the law takes effect on July 1, 2016, all children attending public and private schools in California must be vaccinated, unless they obtain medical exemptions.
Donnelly, also a former gubernatorial candidate, filed paperwork with state attorney general’s office on Wednesday and paid an accompanying $200 fee. Supporters of his initiative now have 100 days to collect signatures from at least 365,880 registered voters in the state.
The former assemblyman says the mandatory vaccination law is a violation of religious liberty and an infringement of parental rights.
“With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Brown took away a really important choice for parents to make. I just believe that decision belongs to the parents, not the government,” Donnelly said. “This is not about vaccination. This is about choice.”
Last year, Donnelly lost his bid to become governor when Neel Kashkari edged him in the Republican primary. He now hosts the Tim Donnelly Show on KIXW-AM in the Inland Empire.
A recent Public Policy Institute of California poll indicated that two-thirds of Californians believe children should not be allowed to attend public schools unless they are vaccinated. Support for stricter vaccine requirements grew after a measles outbreak began last December at Disneyland and lasted until mid-April.
But, the new law has other vocal detractors. After Brown signed the bill into law, actor Jim Carrey called the governor a “corporate fascist” in a tweet.
“California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in mandatory vaccines,” Carrey tweeted. “This corporate fascist must be stopped.”
If Donnelly’s signature drive is successful, the initiative would appear on the 2016 ballot.