TOPEKA (KSNT)–Provisions in proposed legislation would adopt a “no questions asked” policy regarding vaccine exemptions for children attending daycare facilities and could fine centers for turning them away.
In part, that’s what Senate Bill 20 proposes for Kansas childcare centers, stating the legislation is geared toward “prohibiting an inquiry into the sincerity of a request for an exemption from vaccine requirements.”
With the provision, a child can attend a Kansas daycare facility claiming an exemption to vaccine requirements. Providers would be required to accept the exemption without questioning the validity.
Republican Senators Mark Steffan and Mike Thompson introduced the bill Wednesday in the Committee for Public Health and Welfare.
Some Kansas child advocates say the current system is working and does not need to change. They worry if the bill passes, and providers see an influx of unvaccinated children, the effects would be swift.
“I think we will see childcare facilities close,” said Adrienne Olejink, Vice President of Topeka-based child advocacy organization, Kansas Action for Children. “That’s homebased providers, that’s centers, it will [also] exacerbate the teacher shortage.”
The bill does however, state all children should follow the vaccination requirements the state deems necessary. Directly underneath that statute, describes exactly how the requirements are exempted.
Facilities who refuse an exemption, could face a $25,000 fine.
“These diseases can easily make a comeback, at a very minimum, parents will miss work,” Olejink said. “Children will miss school , it can overwhelm our health system and millions of dollars in mitigation.”
The bill also applies to elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools in Kansas. To view the full bill, click here.