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Religious Exemptions from Immunizations Tightened
|Senior Counsel Dee Black answers questions and assists members with legal issues in Connecticut. He and his wife homeschooled their children.
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On July 2, 2015, Governor Dannel Malloy signed into law House Bill 6949, which creates administrative burdens for parents claiming a religious exemption from state-required childhood immunizations. As in the past, immunizations are required for public and nonpublic school students and children in day care centers, group day care homes, and family day care homes. Prior law only required that parents or guardians file a statement of religious objection with the school or day care center in order to obtain the exemption. The new law requires that the statement be acknowledged (essentially notarized) by a judge, clerk of court, town clerk, notary public, justice of the peace, or a Connecticut attorney. Further, parents or guardians must file the statement every year instead of just once as required by the old law.
Children in a home instruction program are not subject to the immunization laws, so they are not affected by the recent changes. But Home School Legal Defense Association opposed this legislation in the interest of religious freedom and parental rights. The religious exemption from vaccinations remains intact for families of faith, but the new administrative burdens encumber its use.
The law went into effect on July 1, 2015.
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