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Kevin Dayton

Many Donors Against Pan Recall Don’t Care About Government-Mandated Vaccinations (Senate Bill 277)

California State Senator Richard Pan, a Democrat representing the Sacramento suburbs, was the author of Senate Bill 277, one of the most controversial California bills of 2015.

SB 277 is supposed to result in eventual “total immunization of appropriate age groups” against ten childhood diseases and possibly other diseases to be added to the list later. Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 277 in June 2015 after it passed the Assembly 46-31-3 and the Senate 24-14-2. It is now in effect as California law.

The law eliminates a statutory exemption from immunization requirements based upon personal beliefs. Private or public elementary or secondary schools, child care centers, day nurseries, nursery schools, family day care homes, or development centers are no longer allowed to admit a pupil unconditionally unless that that pupil has been immunized for listed diseases.

Vaccines have helped modern civilizations to flourish by controlling infectious diseases. And Senator Pan repeatedly referred to “science” as justification for his bill. Nevertheless, some Californians objected vehemently to a new government mandate to inject substances manufactured by corporations and overseen by governments into their children’s bodies. Others worried about establishing a precedental legal framework for government intrusion that future governments could abuse.

Opponents of SB 277 attempted to qualify a statewide ballot referendum to repeal SB 277, but failed. Opponents also tried to qualify a recall of Senator Pan. That recall effort has failed because no signatures were filed by the December 31, 2015 deadline.

Debate over Senate Bill 277 has raged furiously on social media, especially among California women with school-aged children. Most of them seemed to sincerely regard the SB 277 referendum and legislator recall efforts in terms of the welfare of children.

Idealism is honorable. Of course, that’s not the way it works at the California State Capitol.

Issues are rarely decided by a pure assessment of pros and cons. All decisions are calculated.

A recall effort based on state-mandated vaccination gave numerous special interest groups an opportunity to boost their power by demonstrating a financial commitment for preserving the political career of Senator Pan. Sixteen interest groups gave a total of $125,500 to “Keep California Healthy. Keep Dr. Pan. Vote No on the Recall.” Many of these groups had no stake in childhood vaccination issues.

Organizations trying to save Senator Pan (always referred to by supporters of SB 277 as Dr. Pan) from the wrath of mandatory vaccination opponents included the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (an umbrella group for construction unions), the Laborers construction union, the California Farm Bureau, the California Association of Realtors, the California Faculty Association union, the Professional Engineers in California Government union, and the public utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E). There were no small business donors or individual donors to the campaign against the recall.

These groups gained some valuable political capital by defending Senator Pan. He will be under pressure to reciprocate by sponsoring or supporting controverisal legislation that benefits their interests. You can be sure that the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California has a long list of bills planned for 2016.

In addition, majority leaders in the legislature can be confident that well-funded and established interest groups will come forward to defend their caucus if any grassroots movements try to organize a recall against individual legislators. With that kind of proven campaign support, why not enact more controversial laws that intrude on business once considered to be within the domain of parents and families?

PG&E will likely be there with campaign cash when California parents lash out against the (inevitable) state ban on spanking.


Campaign Contributions to “Keep California Healthy. Keep Dr. Pan. Vote No on the Recall.”

 

Campaign Contributor

Business of Campaign Contributor

Amount of Campaign Contribution

Took Position on Senate Bill 277?

The Doctors Company

Insurance (Medical Malpractice)

$20,000

No

State Building and Construction Trades Council of Caiifornia

Construction Union

$10,000

No

California Association of Realtors

Real Estate Agents

$10,000

No

California Association of Physician Groups

Doctors

$10,000

Yes

California Hospital Association

Hospitals

$10,000

Yes

Cooperative of American Physicians

Insurance (Medical Malpractice)

$10,000

No

California Medical Association

Doctors

$10,000

Yes

California Faculty Association

College Faculty Union

$5,500

No

PG&E Corporation 

Public Utility

$5,000

No

California Society of Anesthesiologists

Doctors

$5,000

No

California Farm Bureau

Farmers

$5,000

No

Northern California District Council of Laborers

Construction Union

$5,000

No

California Dental Association

Dentists

$5,000

No

Professional Engineers in California Government

Engineers Union

$5,000

No

California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians

Doctors

$5,000

Yes

California School Employees Association

School Employees Union

$5,000

Yes

TOTAL

$125,500

Sources

Campaign Reports Submitted to California Secretary of State for “Keep California Healthy. Keep Dr. Pan. Vote No on the Recall.”

Senate Bill 277 Text

Senate Bill 277 Bill Analysis (Includes List of Supporters and Opponents)

Richard Pan Recall Effort Falls Short on Vaccine IssueSacramento Bee – January 4, 2016

Spank a Little Kid, Go to Jail, If Bill Becomes LawSan Francisco Chronicle – January 19, 2007


Kevin Dayton is the President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, and is the author of frequent postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at www.laborissuessolutions.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaytonPubPolicy.

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