NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A8398
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the public health law, in relation to limiting
exemptions from immunizations; and to repeal certain provisions of such
law relating to religious exemptions for certain post-secondary students
This bill would prohibit organizations and entities from permitting any
nonmedical exemption to an immunization requirement, make any such
provision null and void and remove the religious exemption for post-sec-
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1 amends the public health law to add a new section 2164-a to
prohibit organizations and entities that have immunization requirements
from permitting any non-medical exemption to such requirements and stip-
ulate that any provision of a law, rule, regulation or policy that
allows for a nonmedical exemption shall be deemed null and void.
Section 2 repeals subdivision 9 of section 2165 of the public health law
which is the religious exemption for certain post-secondary students.
Section 3 is the severability clause.
Section 4 sets effective date.
In 2019 the legislature passed, and the Governor signed into law, my
bill that removed all non-medical exemptions from immunization require-
ments for children who attend school (Chapter 35 of 2019). That act was
adopted before the COVID-19 global pandemic that has killed hundreds of
thousands of Americans and millions worldwide. Now more than ever,
vaccine requirements, particularly those that combat Covid (but also
other diseases), must be made as robust as possible in all settings for
our safety and the public health.
As of September 2021, an estimated 80 million Americans adults remain
unvaccinated against Covid. Just recently, Covid deaths in America
surpassed those caused by the influenza outbreak in years surrounding
1920. Public health mandates, instituted to combat diseases such as
these, have been upheld repeatedly throughout U.S. history. The majority
opinion in the Supreme Court case Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905),
where a Lutheran pastor in Cambridge, MA defied a city ordinance requir-
ing smallpox vaccinations, stated: "the liberty secured by the Constitu-
tion does not import an absolute right in each person to be at all
times, and in all circumstances, wholly freed from restraint.
Constitution rests upon the fundamental principle of the social compact
... that all shall be governed by certain laws for the protection, safe-
ty, prosperity, and happiness of the people, and not for the profit,
honor or private interests of any one man, family or class of men."
I sponsored Chapter 35 of 2019 for the health and well being of our
school children. It would stand to reason that other settings that adopt
immunization requirements, including hospitals, workplaces, businesses,
and local governments, should not be made porous by exceptions that are
not medical in nature. This bill would help to ensure the "protection of
the people" by removing certain exceptions.
This is a new bill
This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
October 20, 2021
Introduced by M. of A. DINOWITZ -- read once and referred to the Commit-
tee on Health
AN ACT to amend the public health law, in relation to limiting
exemptions from immunizations; and to repeal certain provisions of
such law relating to religious exemptions for certain post-secondary
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. The public health law is amended by adding a new section
2 2164-a to read as follows:
3 § 2164-a. Immunization exemptions. No organization or entity, includ-
4 ing a local government, school board, business, or employer, which
5 requires immunization against any disease shall permit any exemption
6 from such requirement except a medical exemption. Any provision of a
7 law, rule, regulation, or policy adopted by any entity that allows for a
8 non-medical exemption to an immunization requirement shall be deemed
9 null and void. A medical exemption shall be established in the same
10 manner as set forth in subdivision eight of section twenty-one hundred
11 sixty-four of this title.
12 § 2. Subdivision 9 of section 2165 of the public health law is
14 § 3. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision,
15 section or part of this title shall be adjudged by any court of compe-
16 tent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair
17 or invalidate the remainder thereof, but shall be confined in its opera-
18 tion to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or part
19 thereof directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment
20 shall have been rendered. It is hereby declared the intent of the legis-
21 lature that this act would have been enacted even if such invalid
22 provisions had not been included herein.
23 § 4. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.