Idaho Senate panel OKs vaccination form bill

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An Idaho Senate panel has narrowly agreed to introduce legislation allowing parents to opt out of vaccinating their children with a simple letter rather than using a state form.

Sen. Dan Foreman, a Republican from Moscow, argued Tuesday that the bill clarifies state law and does not discourage parents from using existing state or school forms to opt out of vaccines. Supporters of the bill include Health Freedom Idaho, an organization against vaccinations.

Senate Health and Welfare Committee members spent more than an hour debating the merits of the bill before voting 5-4 to send the bill to a full hearing.

Sen. Lee Heider, chairman of the panel, warned the bill would cause confusion for schools in the event officials need to send students home due to a disease outbreak.

According to the Department of Health and Welfare, Idaho has some of the highest exemption rates in the nation.