One of the more controversial measures – an attempt to end the personal exemptions for immunizations – died on the House floor last week.

Before the big vote, I’m told, some were still wondering what the outcome would be.

But there was at least one man who already knew the bill was going to fail: Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver.

Harris knew because he was key in killing the bill. He was also one of it’s first supporters, signing on as a co-sponsor.

Welcome to Olympia.

Harris still believes the measure could have been a good one. It would have kept existing exemptions for both religious and medical reasons, but ended the philosophical-belief exemption currently on the books.

He tried to save it, he said, by offering an amendment.

“I offered a phenomenal amendment it would have passed,” Harris said.

Harris’ idea was to leave in the ability for people to opt out for philosophical reasons, but only if they had read a fact sheet in front of a health care provider who would sign off on the sheet.

The goal was to ensure people who were opting out were first armed with the facts.

But, Harris said, health care providers wouldn’t sign on.

“That bill (had the same level) of passion like abortion, it was pro-life or pro choice; you’re either pro-vaccination or you’re not,” he said.

As Republican whip, it was then his job to ensure the bill died.


Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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