Advocates for Home Education in Massachusetts, Inc.

Legislative Update

Bills regarding vaccination

Update on use of term home school in bills regarding vaccination

S.2763 - New draft of S.2359 AN ACT PROMOTING COMMUNITY IMMUNITY by Rebecca L. Rausch

H.4784 - New draft of H.4096 AN ACT PROMOTING COMMUNITY IMMUNITY by Paul J. Donato, Rebecca L. Rausch

Both bills were reported favorably on June 15, 2020. The Senate bill was referred to the committee on Senate Ways and Means. The House bill was referred to the committee on Health Care Financing, and on June 22 the reporting date was extended to Thursday, December 31, 2020, pending concurrence.

Both bills have been amended to include the following language in section 238 of Chapter 111 [Public Health] of the General Laws:

(a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

- Covered program, (i) a child care center, an early education and care program, a family child care home, a large family child care home, a public preschool program, or a school-aged child care program, as defined in section 1A of chapter 15D; (ii) a school, whether public, private or charter, that provides education to students in any combination of grade levels from kindergarten to grade 12, inclusive, and including, but not limited to, any school activity open to children who are otherwise instructed in accordance with section 1 of chapter 76; [emphasis added] (iii) a recreational camp; or (iv) an institution of higher education, whether public or private.

Summary: H.4784 and S.2763 would repeal Section 15 of Chapter 76 and replace it with the Section 238 of Chapter 111 [Public Health] of the General Laws. Chapter 111 would be amended by adding Section 238.

When the bills were first filed in September 2019, AHEM contacted Rep. Donato’s and Sen. Rausch’s offices and asked that home schooled be changed to otherwise instructed to match statutory language in chapter 76 section 1. We objected to introducing the term "home schooled" into statutory language, as doing so begs its definition. On June 15, 2020, both bills were amended by removing the phrase home schooled and inserting the language otherwise instructed per our request.

AHEM position: Neutral, now that the language has been modified. AHEM takes no position on vaccination.