Maine House gives final approval on vaccine bill

By  | 

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A bill to eliminate religious and philosophical exemptions to vaccines is a big step closer to becoming law.

The Maine House voted Tuesday to enact it.

The bill has just one more vote in the Senate before getting to Governor Mills for her signature.

The Senate originally voted to add an amendment keeping religious exemptions, but ultimately voted against that.

Supporters say it's needed to keep Maine kids safe from diseases.

"This bill is about making sure that we're protecting kids from preventable diseases, making sure they're not exposed to measles and other harmful diseases in the place where they spend a majority of their waking hours," said bill sponsor Rep. Ryan Tipping, D-Orono. "So I think this was a good step in that direction."

Opponents say it takes away parents' right to choose what's best for their kids.

"If the state can forcibly inject its citizens against their will, there is no power which the state cannot reserve for itself no matter the destructive impact on all of our civil liberties," said Rep. Beth O'Connor, R-Berwick, speaking in opposition to the bill on the House floor.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill Thursday.