Albany, N.Y. -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation eliminating a religious exemption to vaccine mandates for schoolchildren in the face of the nation's worst measles outbreak in decades.
The Democrat signed the bill Thursday soon after it was approved by lawmakers.
Similar exemptions are allowed in 46 states, though lawmakers in several of them are also considering the elimination of the waiver. Maine nixed its religious exemption earlier this year.
Hundreds of opponents of the bill, including parents of unvaccinated children, protested outside New York's Capitol ahead of Thursday's vote. They say the bill is an assault on religious freedom.
Supporters say misinformation spread by anti-vaxxers has created a public health crisis.
Health officials said last week that this year's U.S. measles epidemic has surpassed 1,000 illnesses, the highest in 27 years.
(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Vaccination legislation signed by Governor Cuomo
- California governor signs bills limiting vaccine exemptions
- Cuomo signs legislation banning 'gay and trans-panic' legal defense
- Cuomo: Ending exemption for vaccines 'legally questionable'
- Governor Cuomo signs new climate act into law
- Governor Cuomo Issues Extreme Heat Warning
- New flood mitigation legislation heading to Cuomo's desk for approval
- State lawmakers pushing for legislation to require vaccinations for all
- Liberal group endorses Nixon over Cuomo in NY governor race
- Governor Cuomo Says "America Was Never That Great"