Senate sponsors of a controversial proposal to remove the religious exemption from immunization requirements say they’re dropping the bill.

Senate Bill 346, sponsored by Sens. Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, Tamara Barringer, R-Wake, and Terry Van Duyn, D-Buncombe, would have required all children entering school in North Carolina to have had all vaccines on the schedule recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The only exemption granted would have been for medical reasons with a doctor’s approval.

Sponsors cited concerns about the growing number of children whose parents were using the religious exemption to opt them out of vaccination requirements. But opponents decried the bill as governmental overreach and said the proposal violated parental rights as well as the constitutional right to free exercise of religion.

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