Today the Arkansas House put our state one step closer. They passed 88-8, HB1317, filed by Rep Linda Tyler (D-Conway), AN ACT TO EXPAND THE IMMUNIZATION REGISTRY TO BETTER PROTECT THE CITIZENS OF ARKANSAS.
Protect us from what? I wonder if the men and women that passed this one actually read this bill carefully and realized the implications of it's passage.
Here's some background. There was a similar bill filed in 2007, HB2025 by Rep Sandra Prater (D-Jacksonville). It was defeated in the House Public Health Committee. One of the distinct differences in the two is that the 2007 version offered an "opt-out", the new and improved version, not so much.
Bills like this tend to give me the hebbie jebbies, and remind me of the book "1984"
The Department of Health is the gatekeeper of the information, which according to the bill is not restricted to a particular use, not only that they are not required to share this data with the parents. I hear Scooby Doo in the background now going RUH?
What about the doctor client privilege? In section 1 paragraph 2 it reads “Immunization records shall include data as specified by the department.” What data? What specifications?
I am sure that this information would never be used by our government for any other reason than that intended.
What is even more disconcerting is the mandatory submission. Here is the verbiage starting on page 2:
Duty of providers — Penalty.
A provider shall register with the Department of Health the intent to administer childhood immunizations to an individual under twenty-two (22) years of age under guidelines established by the department.
A provider shall report to the department the administration of a childhood immunization to any person an individual under twenty-two (22) years of age.
A provider may report the administration of adult immunizations to the department.
Not only will childhood immunizations be registered but this bill includes adult immunizations as well and the provider is the decider of submission not the adult. Sound like overreaching government? Does this help or hinder business? And just who do you think the “providers” will pass the cost of implementation and enforcement on to?
Unlike the 2007 version this bill implements a $25.00 fine for those who do not “participate”. Sound a little Stalinish? Who will enforce this? Will be have the immunization police or the registry squad?
This bill is now in the hands of the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee, might behoove the citizens of Arkansas to get in touch with these lawmakers and discuss the particulars of this bill.
If you care to read a little more here is an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette written on this topic in August of last year. Seems the Governor was also worried about privacy and cost.
GET INFORMED AND ENGAGED!