Earlier in the day, protesters were also detained by police while blocking entrances to the Capitol as lawmakers scrambled to act on bills before their scheduled adjournment on Friday.
Despite the fierce outside opposition, SB 714 passed the Assembly 43-14 with minimal debate and was transferred immediately to the Senate and subsequently approved by a vote of 27-11. In both houses, the bill passed on near party lines votes, receiving close to unanimous support from Democrats, with Republicans almost entirely opposed.
That bill, along with SB 276, which the Legislature approved last week, will create state oversight of medical exemptions for vaccines required by most schools and day care centers in California.
Under the new law, the state will begin collecting medical exemptions electronically by Jan. 1, 2021. But Department of Health officials will only review them when a school's immunization rate falls below 95% or when a doctor writes more than five medical exemptions per year (beginning in 2020).
The legislation will also allow officials to revoke any medical exemptions written by doctors who have faced disciplinary action.
"It is my hope that parents whose vulnerable children could die from vaccine-preventable diseases will be reassured that we are protecting those communities that have been left vulnerable because a few unscrupulous doctors are undermining community immunity by selling inappropriate medical exemptions,” said state Sen. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, a pediatrician, who introduced both bills.
Last week, when lawmakers approved the initial bill, Newsom unexpectedly walked back his pledge to sign it, demanding a major overhaul of the legislation. In a compromise, Pan's follow-up bill will, among other things, allow grace periods for students with existing medical exemptions.
Similar to the phase-out period allowed when California eliminated personal belief vaccine exemptions in 2015, a kindergartener with a medical exemption could retain it through sixth grade, for instance, while a seventh grader could be exempted through high school.
The legislative effort was co-sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Medical Association and the advocacy group Vaccinate California, all of which hailed its final approval.
Since being introduced last year, hundreds of parents have protested the legislation, insisting it would disrupt confidential doctor-patient relationships and scare doctors from writing new exemptions.