Compromise bill on religious exemptions for vaccines fails in New Jersey Senate

A bill that would have ended religious exemptions to vaccine requirements for public school students in New Jersey failed to pass the state Senate, The New York Times reported.

The Senate voted on the bill Jan. 13, amid intense protests from vaccine opponents that have persisted for two months. The bill failed to pass the Senate by a single vote.

The bill passed the state Assembly Dec. 16. It would have banned religious exemptions to vaccine requirements for students in both public and private schools and colleges, making it one of the strictest vaccine laws in the country had it passed the Senate.

But last week, Senate lawmakers struck a compromise that would ban religious exemptions for vaccines only in public institutions, and the Senate voted Jan. 9 to approve the amendment letting private schools invoke the religious exemption.

Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D), Senate majority leader and a sponsor of the bill, said that the Senate plans to immediately reintroduce a new version of the bill.

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