State Rep. Dave Williams doesn't want to see an issue that proved to be one of the most contentious in the last session getting the short shrift in this one.
Wednesday the Republican from Colorado Springs asked the House Democratic leadership to assign his bill on vaccinations to an "appropriate committee of reference," suggesting the House Public Health and Human Services Committee.
He doesn't want his bill assigned to the State, Veterans and Military Affairs, which, inside the Capitol, is referred as the "kill committee," where bills are sent to be voted down by the majority.
The majority party's leadership decides which committees bills are assigned to. Though Democrats control both the House and Senate at the moment, both parties use the kill committee when they're in power to dispatch ill-favored legislation.
Last year hundreds of parents crowded into committee hearings to oppose a bill that would have required a standard form to claim a state exemption from childhood school vaccinations with their local health department. The legislation died on the calendar. Parents still can make those requests not to vaccinate their children with local schools.
Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order in June urging vaccinations but respecting exemptions. Leaders say they are concerned about Colorado's "dangerously low" vaccination rate among kindergarten students.
Others, such as Williams, say government should respect the rights of parents to make the decision about vaccinations for their children.
Williams was one of the most outspoken opponents of the legislation last year. He submitted a bill titled the Vaccine Consumer Protection Act on Wednesday.
Williams said his is a consumer protection bill, requiring health care providers to disclose information about the risks and benefits of vaccinations before vaccines are administered "without government tipping the scales one way or the other."
"It will also allow patients to be informed about specific details about the vaccines, such as who manufactured it and what the ingredients are," he told Colorado Politics in a text exchange Wednesday night. "Patients will also be informed of their exemption rights, and patients can’t be discriminated against for choosing not to vaccinate or for being on a delayed schedule.
"This bill is intended to let people make an informed decision. It’s not a pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine bill, it’s about about balance."
In a message to House Speaker KC Becker Wednesday, Williams said, "Thousands of concerned parents, who span both political parties, have signed a petition asking that you give this bill a fair hearing. I plan on delivering those petition names to your office for review.""Please respect their wishes for a fair hearing and don't allow for further mistrust to occur between our institutions and the public we serve."
Becker told Colorado Politics the bill would be treated fairly.
"Rep Williams has sent me an email asking that his bill get a fair hearing," she said in a text Wednesday evening. "I am confident that it will get a fair hearing in any committee that it is assigned to."