The exterior of Dr. Tara Zandvliet’s office in South Park / Photo by Megan Wood
The exterior of Dr. Tara Zandvliet’s office in South Park / Photo by Megan Wood

California’s new medical vaccine exemption law that goes into effect in 2021 was inspired by a Voice of San Diego report showing that one doctor was responsible for nearly a third of all medical vaccine exemptions in the San Diego Unified School District. 

The new law gives public health officials the ability to revoke exemptions they believe to be illegitimate. And if the law were in effect today, it would have big implications on the ground, Will Huntsberry reports

In San Diego, 19 schools and six doctors would come under review. Dozens of medical exemptions that fall outside generally accepted medical guidelines would likely be revoked.

The state senator who wrote the law said the Medical Board of California previously had difficulty investigating these types of cases because families declined to give up medical records. Starting in 2021, however, any parent obtaining a medical exemption for their child must sign a waiver. 

The Medical Board would still need to abide by patient privacy rules, and parents of a child whose exemption is revoked would retain the ability to appeal the decision. 

The Thin Blue Line at Schools

California is one of the few states where school districts can run their own police departments. In fact, San Diego Unified employs 38 full-time officers, and they are typically the first law enforcement personnel to deal with reports of abuse or misconduct.

Kayla Jimenez reports that it’s not always clear where the role of school police ends and the city’s police force begins. California law, however, does make clear that investigating complaints of sexual abuse in San Diego schools should fall to SDPD, but that doesn’t always appear to be the case. 

In 2003, for instance, a student complained that a physics teacher had stuck his hand down her pants. School officials reported the incident to school police, which substantiated the allegation but didn’t notify SDPD. New complaints would surface against the teacher a decade later. He lost his credentials earlier this month. 

An agreement between SDPD and school police that’s good until 2020 makes clear that suspicions of child abuse should be directed to SDPD. 

Politics Roundup

Bye, Ry!

We said goodbye Friday to our good buddy Ry Rivard, who’s headed east to cover water quality and environmental issues in upstate New York. Some of us are still in denial. Some of us spent the weekend contemplating the meaning of existence and the inescapable fact that nothing on this earth is truly within our control. Impermanence is the natural state of being and only through collective actions can we hope to build something better together. 

Anyhow, Ry will be missed. 

We gathered and shared some of his best stories on Twitter, including an investigation he produced with NBC 7 about the troubled rollout of San Diego’s smart meter program and the attempts to hide information from auditors. At least five officials were later ousted

Personal fav: this piece about Chula Vista police asking wealthy individuals and private companies — some of whom had business before the city — for money. Some of it occurred during work hours and the effort helped coordinate a private fundraiser. 

Honorable mention: the “What’s that lot?” series in which, yes, Ry shed light on mysteriously unused or seemingly untended bits of land.

But wait, there’s more! Literally, there will be a few more stories from Ry in the coming days. We stockpiled them to get ourselves through this rough time.

In Other News

Correction

Friday’s Sacramento Report misstated the number of bills Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner Horvath has had signed into law. She’s had three bills approved by the governor.

The Morning Report was written by Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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