Montana’s Effort to Expand Religious Exemptions to Vaccines Prompts Political Standoff

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Montana lawmakers are in a standoff with the state’s health department over a package of changes to child care licensing rules, including a provision to allow religious exemptions to routine vaccinations for children and workers. Both Republican and Democratic legislators have voted to renew their informal objection to the proposed rules, preventing the adoption until at least March. Child care providers say the changes are necessary, but health care advocates worry about lower levels of community immunity. The health department’s proposal comes after an unenforced ban on religious exemptions. If the committee makes a formal objection, the rule can be blocked until spring 2025, giving lawmakers a chance to address it.

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