State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), accompanied by concerned mothers and their children, answers a question about his proposed legislation on Wednesday. (Rich Pedroncelli/AP)

A pair of state lawmakers in California want to make it harder to refuse vaccinating your child.

Democratic Sens. Richard Pan, a pediatrician, and Ben Allen held a news conference Wednesday to announce a bill that would eliminate the state’s “personal belief” exemption.

“We are authoring legislation that will abolish the personal belief exemption that currently allows children who have not received the required vaccinations needed to protect the public health to enroll into our schools,” Pan said. “This legislation also empowers parents by requiring parents to be notified of the vaccination rates at their child’s school.”

As we reported earlier, California is one of 18 states that allow personal belief exemptions, according to data compiled by the Immunization Action Coalition, which is funded in part by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also one of five states that do not grant religious exemptions. If Pan’s bill is successful, California would join Mississippi and West Virginia as the only states allowing just medical exemptions.


Exemptions from vaccination requirements. (CDC)

Should Pan’s bill successfully work its way through the legislature, its chances with Gov. Jerry Brown (D) seem strong.

“The governor believes that vaccinations are profoundly important and a major public health benefit, and any bill that reaches his desk will be closely considered,” Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Brown, told The Los Angeles Times.

In most states, vaccination requirements only apply to children in day care or school. Home-schooled children would still be able to opt out of the requirement in California, according to the Times.