Placer supervisors support Prop 47 repeal, oppose bill asserting school COVID-19 vaccine mandate
Published Feb. 23, 2022
Placer County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to take positions on two pending pieces of state legislation - supporting a bill that could lead to the repeal of Proposition 47 and opposing Senate Bill 871, which would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required vaccinations for in-person school attendance for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Approved by the voters in 2014, Proposition 47 reduced certain theft and drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors and allowed broad changes to felony sentencing laws in California’s criminal justice system, reducing penalties for various drug and theft-related crimes.
Proposed Assembly Bill 1599 would replace the proposition language with the state code language prior to its passage, except for certain provisions related to the penalty for possession of concentrated cannabis. If approved and signed into law, the bill would require approval by the voters in the next statewide general election.
The board voted unanimously to express support for AB 1599, now under consideration by the Assembly’s Committee on Public Safety. Supervisors also voted unanimously to update their 2022 legislative platform to include language opposing Senate Bill 871 and similar legislation, including the recently introduced Assembly Bill 1993.
“We’ve seen the problems with the grab-and-go’s and people continuing to break the law. There is no enforcement mechanism at all,” said District 1 Supervisor Bonnie Gore. “It’s affecting our local jurisdictions. It affects how our Sheriff and the District Attorney do their jobs. It also hurts our local businesses and our residents and we need to demonstrate that we want to see changes to this failed policy.”
Introduced in January, SB 871 would add the COVID-19 vaccine to the other vaccinations required for in-person school attendance and eliminate the personal belief exemption for COVID-19 vaccination as well as any future disease immunizations as determined by the California Department of Public Health.
Under California law, students are allowed to skip vaccines required for in-person attendance at K-12 schools after a doctor says it's medically necessary to do so. However, since current law only applies to previously approved immunizations, the state must offer broader personal belief exemptions for all newly mandated vaccines unless lawmakers and the governor override that requirement.
The amendment to the county’s legislative platform asserts the county’s opposition to SB 871 as well as the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s ongoing rulemaking process to require employers with over 100 employees to require the COVID-19 vaccine for their employees or conduct a COVID-19 test weekly.
While the amendment expresses the board’s opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates by government agencies, it is not intended to support restrictions against local agencies or businesses from implementing mandates at their discretion.
“I do believe there are medical benefits to vaccines, but I believe it’s a personal choice,” said Board Chair and District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “As long as we can take protective measures ourselves against those who have chosen not to vaccinate, then I’m OK with opposing any state or federal mandate on this.”