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Eliminates religious and philosophical belief exemptions to vaccination

Location: AR
Title: Eliminates religious and philosophical belief exemptions to vaccination
Identifier: HB 1043
Stance: OPPOSE
Action Required: None at this time
Status: Died, withdrawn by the sponsor on 1/11/2017


UPDATE: 1/12/2017 - HB 1043 was withdrawn by the sponsor on 1/11/2017.  The legislative session for Arkansas is estimated to end on 5/5/2017.

Update: 12/13/2016 - On Dec. 13, 2016 the sponsor of HB 1043, Rep Karilyn Brown, posted a statement on her Facebook Page stating she was pulling this bill.   :

 Last week I filed HB 1043, a bill that would remove the provision for immunization exemption based on religious and philosophical beliefs.

I filed HB 1043 as a result of a request from a person who was sincerely concerned about the low immunization rate in Arkansas.
Since filing the bill, I have heard from numerous concerned citizens on both sides of this issue. I would like to say thank you to everyone who has communicated with me over the past few days.
HB 1043 addresses an important public health issue, but it intersects with personal freedoms that all Americans hold so dear. There appear to be valid arguments on each side of this issue.
I have determined that this issue is best left in the hands of public health officials working with health care providers and individual citizens who have an interest in and experience with this issue.
For these reasons, I have made a decision to withdraw HB1043 from consideration in the 2017 Regular Session. There is not a mechanism for me to withdraw this bill until the Arkansas Legislature convenes on January 9, 2017. At that time, I will take the necessary steps to withdraw HB 1043.


HB 1043 was introduced on Dec. 9, 2016 and is sponsored by Rep. Karilyn Brown.  The Arkansas legislative session starts on Jan. 9, 2017.  Update: 

This terrible bill would do the following if passed:
  • Eliminates the current religious and philosophical belief exemptions to vaccination for all students in public and private schools and day care facilities. 
  • Adds rotavirus to the list of required vaccines for childcare.  Current state law 6-18-702(a) requires children admitted to a public or private school or child care facility in Arkansas to be vaccinated for polio, DTaP, MMR and other diseases as designated by the State Board of Health.  In 2014 the Arkansas State Board of Health updated their administrative rule concerning required vaccinations for school and added new requirements for DTaP, Hepatitis A and Meningococcal Vaccines.  This bill would put into state statute hepatitis B, rotavirus, pneumococcus, haemophilus and hepatitis A.  All these vaccines are required by health department rule already except for rotavirus vaccine.   
  • Removes from current law that gives discretion of any physician licensed to practice by the Arkansas State Medical Board to ask for a medical exemption and gives sole discretion to the health authority having  jurisdiction to determine if there is a physical disability that may contraindicate vaccination, (see top of page 3 of HB 1043)
Current law that allows for penalties and fines for individuals, parents, guardians and school officials who do not comply are not changed by this bill. 
(e) Any person found guilty of violating this section or the regulations promulgated by the State Board of Education or the division for the enforcement of this section shall be guilty of a violation and upon conviction shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense.