Bill Description: House Bill 438 would require school officials to reference the section of Idaho code listing relevant exemptions when communicating with parents about vaccines.
Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency, accountability, or election integrity? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency, accountability, or election integrity?
House Bill 438 would amend Section 39-4802, Idaho Code, which describes what public schools need to tell parents about their right to exempt their children from state law that requires children to be vaccinated before they enroll in school.
The bill would add new language that says, "School officials shall describe that immunizations are not mandatory and may be refused on religious or other grounds pursuant to section 39-4804, Idaho Code, and provide a citation to section 39-4804, Idaho Code, in any communication to parents and guardians regarding immunization."
This new language mentions section 39-4804, Idaho Code, but section 39-4802, Idaho Code, (which is what this bill is amending) already creates this duty. It says, "School officials shall describe the exemptions provided in this section and provide a citation to this section in any communication to parents and guardians regarding immunization."
This makes the new language somewhat duplicative, as the exemptions referenced in section 39-4804 (i.e., "Immunizations are not mandatory and may be refused on religious or other grounds") are essentially the same as those in section 39-4802 (i.e., "Any minor child whose parent or guardian has submitted a signed statement to school officials stating their objections on religious or other grounds shall be exempt from the provisions of this chapter.")
It is good to clarify the rights of parents and guardians to enroll their children in schools without having to obtain vaccinations. But this bill doesn't make any substantive additions to the required notification.
If schools are failing to live up to their existing duty to inform parents about exemptions to vaccination mandates, it would be more effective to add an enforcement mechanism to the law rather than just to reiterate the existing requirement.
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