Rumor has it TODAY at 9AM
SB 866 may be Amended and Voted on by the Assembly!
A Quick FAQ on the SB 866 Amendments
SB 866 (Wiener), which allows 12+ year old minors to consent to all vaccines, may be amended and voted on by the full Assembly today. AVFCA is aware that Senator Wiener does not have the votes to pass the current bill through the Assembly.
How will SB 866 be amended?
AVFCA has not seen the amended bill language, but rumor has it that the bill will be changed to raise the minor age of consent for vaccines to 15+ years.
Why is Senator Wiener amending SB 866?
When a legislator does not have the votes, either in committee or on the floor, especially this early in the legislative session, and especially with a bill the author is passionate about, they will meet with legislators who have said they won't vote on the bill to work out what will get them to change their vote. The last thing Senator Wiener (and Senator Pan) want is for this bill to die. Therefore they have been talking to legislators and working out what would make the bill more palatable, so that they will change their vote. Other organizations from our side have posted lists of legislators who have said they will abstain on or oppose SB 866. A Voice for Choice Advocacy does not recommend doing this, as Senator Wiener has used these as his targets.
Why has A Voice for Choice Advocacy suggested amendments?
Firstly, let's be clear, A Voice for Choice Advocacy strongly opposes SB 866 and thinks it should die. However, A Voice for Choice Advocacy suggested extensive amendments on this bill since it was introduced in January, which you can read in our letter to the legislature (https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/AVFCA-SB866-Letter-of-Oppose-unless-Amended-Wiener-Pan-Asm.pdf). A Voice for Choice Advocacy's legislative team uses amendment suggestions as talking points to convince legislators to oppose or abstain on the bill. These conversations have caused many Democrat and Republican legislators to oppose or abstain on the bill thus far. To note: Senator Wiener has completely refused to consider any of our amendments, and is adamant that he will not take them. If our amendments were taken, the bill would be completely watered down, but it would still be a violation of Federal law, allowing legal teams to overturn it in court.
Having lived through SB 277 in 2015 and SB 276/714 in 2019, and having worked on sucessfully making bills acceptable through amendments, A Voice for Choice Advocacy also tries to find ways to amend a bill so that the bill is bearable rather than terrible. For example, if AVFCA could go back 7 years, we would have focused on SB 277 just focusing on measles and replacing the personal belief exemption with a religious belief exemption, but the focus was on killing the bill - So CA's children lost their religious and medical rights completely. I know most parents who don't fully vaccinate their children would have preferred this to what we have today.
Should A Voice for Choice Advocacy be blamed for SB 866 not dying, and Senator Wiener amending the bill so it passes?
A Voice for Choice Advocacy doesn't think so! There are some organizations in our movement that are critical of the fact A Voice for Choice Advocacy has asked for amendments from the day the bill was introduced, and that we still have a letter asking for them. Again, Senator Wiener's goal is to pass the bill. Anyone familiar with the legislative process, would be surprised that the bill had not already been amended and would bet that it would be amended, rather than die.
Why doesn't A Voice for Choice Advocacy think SB 866 will die like SB 871, SB 1464, SB 902 and AB 1993?
Those other bills had a lot of opposition from large organizations, unions, schools, law enforcement and other Democrat supporters. In an election year, those groups are important to legislators to get endorsements from. They can't afford to piss off their supporters. So when the letters of opposition came in from these groups, the legislators pulled the bills, because other Democrats did not want to have to vote against their supporters. If you look at the list of organizations opposing SB 866, they are primarily Medical Freedom and Health Rights groups. Unfortunately, our movement doesn't carry the same weight as unions, law enforcement, etc. and does not make a significant impact on elections.
I summarized this in a short video this morning: https://youtu.be/qWfce2pqjY8
Take Action TODAY!
Keep the pressure on! Constituents have the most powerful voice, especially in an election year. Please call your Assembly Member's district and capitol office this morning, letting them know you are a constituent and ask them to oppose or abstain from SB 866, even if the age of consent is raised to 15. If the bill is amended, it needs to have all of A Voice for Choice Advocacy's requested amendments.
Over the past 7 years, A Voice for Choice Advocacy has established itself as the leading legislative organization lobbying in the California Capitol for your health rights. While A Voice for Choice Advocacy's lobbying activity in the Capitol is important, your positive constituent relationships with your CA State Senator and Assembly Member and their staff are critical to assisting with A Voice for Choice Advocacy's efforts in the Capitol.
Together we can make change happen!