Requires vaccine exemption rights and non-altered vaccine schedule for children living in foster home who are not foster children

State: NH
Bill Number: HB 408
Position: SUPPORT
Action Required: NONE
Status: ENACTED, signed by Governor Sununu & effective 8/4/2023; Chapter 193

Legislation Details:

UPDATE: 8/4/2023 - HB 408 was enacted, it was signed by Governor Sununu and effective on 8/4/2023; Chapter Number 193. View the Chaptered Final Version HERE

UPDATE: 6/29/2023 - HB 408 was enrolled in both the House and the Senate on 6/29/2023. Contact Governor Chris Sununu, ask to SIGN HB 408. 

UPDATE: 6/15/2023 - HB 408 as amended in the Senate was concurred in the House by a voice vote on 6/15/2023. 

UPDATE: 5/18/2023 - HB 408 passed the 3rd Reading in the Senate by a voice vote on 5/18/2023.

UPDATE: 5/18/2023 - HB 408 was amended by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The amendment, which makes no substantial changes to the intent of the original language, is here. NVIC's position continues to be SUPPORT.  The exemption language for foster family members is clearer in the substitute:

On or before October 1, 2023, the department of health and human services shall submit a waiver request to the Administration for Children & Families seeking approval for all children who are foster family household members, regardless of age, residing in a foster household to claim any exemption from a vaccination or immunization requirement under RSA 141-C:20-c.

Additionally, now the bill, if passed, would go into effect immediately instead of 60 days after passage.

UPDATE: 3/28/2023 - HB 408 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 4/12/2023, at 10:00 am in the Legislative Office Building, Room 101. Public testimony guidelines can be reviewed here.

UPDATE: 3/23/2023 - HB 408 was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 3/23/2023. 

UPDATE: 3/22/2023 - The amendment to HB 408 was passed by a voice vote and the amended bill passed the Full House by voice vote on 3/22/2023. 

UPDATE: 3/16/2023 - HB 408 was amended and passed the Executive Session of the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 3/13/2023, by a vote of 20 Yes, 0 No. The amendment does not change the intent of the bill and NVIC's position remains the same.

UPDATE: 3/1/2023 - HB 408 was scheduled in the Executive Session of the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on Wednesday, 3/8/2023 at 11:00 am in the Legislative Office Building Room 201-203. 

UPDATE: 2/8/2023 - HB 408 was scheduled for a hearing in the House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 2/16/2023 at 1:00 pm in the Legislative Office Building Room 201-203. Oral testimony can be given and written testimony can be submitted. On the NH legislative website, scroll down to the "MEETING RESOURCES" section and follow links to submit testimony. You will have to select the Committee and bill from the form.

HB 408 was introduced on 1/5/2023 and referred to House Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee on 1/10/2023. This bill is sponsored by Representative Jim Kofalt

HB 408 requires a child living in a foster family home who is not in foster care themselves to have the same right to a vaccine exemption as any other child living in the state. It also prevents any rule from being adopted to subject this child to any additional vaccine requirements or limitations on exemptions that is different from any other child in the state. 

This is an important bill to protect families who foster children so they are not vulnerable to being forced to vaccinate their own children by way of an agency rule governing foster home environments. It is hard enough to find foster families and parents who want to open their homes to children in need of a temporary place for care and shelter.  The state should not be in a position to drive foster families away by allowing the department to enact rules that would require families to vaccinate their child even if their child would already qualify for an exemption if the home was not a foster care home. 

Some states have experienced proposed bills or rules attempting to require every child living in a home where a foster child would live even if they were not foster children and this bill would preemptively prevent this from happening in NH. 

If passed, the provisions of the bill would take effect upon passage. - text, status and history of HB 408