Bill banning religious exemptions for vaccines gains traction as outbreak worsens

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ROCKLAND COUNTY -

Politicians in Rockland are pushing for legislation banning all religious exemptions for vaccines statewide.

The effort come one day after Rockland County reissued a state of emergency over the measles.

State Sen. David Carlucci says the bill he is co-sponsoring has been in the Assembly for several years. But now, with 200 measles cases in Rockland alone, he says things are heating up.

Rockland County Executive Ed Day is planning to visit Albany with Sen. Calucci on Monday to push politicians toward the bill – a feat, the state senator says, that might not be so easy.

“It's very controversial. You have people who are very committed, passionate about not vaccinating,” he says.

Some argue the law would infringe on civil liberties. Others say when someone's faith threatens another's health, civil liberty turns into civil menace.

Both Carlucci and Day told News 12 they know of no religion, including the Orthodox Jewish faith, that specifies people shouldn't vaccinate.

“There is no religious exemption that is founded or true within the Orthodox community. We have that from numerous sources,” says Day.

State Sen. Carlucci says he's hopeful the bill will pass in Albany this spring and expects the law to hold up constitutionally in state court if it is challenged.

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