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Lawmakers argue ending vaccine exemption is unconstitutional

HARTFORD — A group of state lawmakers insists it’s unconstitutional to eliminate a religious exemption to the requirement that Connecticut schoolchildren be vaccinated.

The 44 senators and representatives, mostly Republicans, have sent a letter to Democratic Attorney General William Tong expressing their belief that ending the exemption would prevent parents from freely exercising their right to religion and violate their equal protection under the law.

The letter is in response to a recent request from Democratic House Majority Leader Matt Ritter of Hartford seeking an opinion from Tong on the constitutionality of eliminating the exemption. Ritter says the exemption is being abused and should be scrapped in light of the uptick in measles and other outbreaks across the U.S.

A spokeswoman for Tong says an opinion will likely be released next month.

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