MONTGOMERY — Members of the Senate Education Policy Committee passed a bill that would make it easier for K-12 students in Alabama to receive religious exemptions from vaccine requirements passed on Wednesday.

The bill would establish a process where a parent could get an exemption from a school’s vaccine requirements with a written statement provided by a child's parent or guardian to the local board of education declaring that he or she wishes to exempt his or her child from any vaccination. The parent or guardian wouldn’t be required to explain the reason for the exemption, certify the exemption with any third party, or otherwise receive approval from the local board of education or any other entity. 

State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), the bill’s sponsor, said during the committee meeting, “Right now, under current law we require people that want a religious vaccine (exemption) to go down to the public health office for their children and get permission from the public health office to recognize their religious exemption and then they take that to the school when it comes to vaccines.” 

“This bill would just remove that step. If they had a religious exemption to vaccines requirements then they would just present that to the school. It gets the government out of people having to more or less represent their religious objections to vaccines,” he added.

The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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