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Dozens of families sue state over vaccine law

July 10, 2019 06:22 PM

Dozens of families opposed to the new vaccine law in New York are taking the state to court.

As NewsChannel 13 reported last month, the governor signed the legislation on June 13. It removes the religious exemptions for families who do not want their children vaccinated for diseases like measles. So if a child isn't vaccinated, they can't attend school or daycare. That's what has those parents upset.

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The judge has given the attorney general's office until the end of the day Thursday to file their response to the lawsuit.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Attorney Michael Sussman spoke on behalf of 55 families who traveled here to Albany from all over the state. Those families previously held legal exemptions to the vaccination rule. They say it's clear the decision to repeal the religious exemption was rushed and based on bigotry.

Sussman claims the proper channels for quarantining ill New York state residents was not followed in Rockland County. He says Rockland County officials claimed they would need "stadiums" to comply with the proper procedure, something he called ludicrous.

He also said there were no public hearings or debates with health commissioners from counties across the state to give them a chance to weigh in. Now he says over 25,000 school aged kids are being unfairly penalized for maintaining religious beliefs. He also pointed out that the exemption doesn't apply to college age students or adults in the workplace.

A representative for the attorney general's office says that state law dating back 100 years says the state can mandate vaccinations in order to be admitted to school. They didn't have much else to argue, because they had just gotten the paperwork shortly before. That's why they now have until Thursday to file a response.

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Emily Burkhard

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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