Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed a bill requiring K-12 schools to include exemption information when communicating vaccine requirements to students and their families. The vetoed legislation, known as House Bill 399, was introduced by Rep. Kathy Edmonston, a Republican from Gonzales. Edmonston has a track record of spreading vaccine misinformation and introducing anti-vax measures. Last year, she presented six similar bills, all of which failed, and this year she introduced four bills, two of which were approved.
Governor Edwards has not yet decided on another bill by Edmonston, which seeks to ban COVID-19 vaccine requirements in schools.
In his veto message, Edwards said he rejected the bill because it was "a covert attempt to undermine the public's trust in vaccines." He further emphasized that perpetuating mistrust in safe, effective, and crucial vaccines is reckless and extremely dangerous.
Louisiana law already provides ample provisions for vaccine exemptions, allowing students to opt out for moral reasons without additional justification. Critics of Edmonston's proposal argue that highlighting the exemption process could result in more individuals abstaining from receiving vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration, thereby increasing the risk of preventable outbreaks in schools.