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Measles Crackdown: County Begins Ban of Unvaccinated Children from Public Places

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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Maryland Gov. vetoes school start bill, along with other legislation ... Crackdown on bike lane enforcement ... A police department faces possible closure in Maine.

Frustrated with a measles outbreak that has mostly affected children, a New York county on Wednesday began banning unvaccinated kids from indoor public places, including schools and the mall. Rockland County Executive Ed Day announced the ban as he issued a state of emergency, which will last 30 days. At a news conference on Tuesday, Day said he needed to take the drastic step as the county’s measles outbreak had lingered into its 26th week, with 153 confirmed cases, including 128 children. Day noted that almost 17,000 vaccine shots have been given out by county officials, but said more people need to get vaccinated. “What about the infants who are out there with Mom and Dad?” Day said. “What about those pregnant and those with compromised immune systems, like cancer patients or survivors? These are the people we all need to step up for.” The Journal News reported Wednesday that local public schools informed parents of unvaccinated students that their children couldn’t attend school until they got the first shot of the MMR vaccination. Some critics, however, raised questions about whether the ban will target Orthodox Jewish residents, as many of the patients who contracted the measles come from that community. Rabbi Yakov Horowitz told the New York Times he supports vaccinations, but is concerned about potential discrimination against his congregants.  [New York Times; Journal News]

SUMMER VACATION | Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed a bill Wednesday that would overrule his executive order mandating that public schools can’t open for the year until after Labor Day, a policy that is supposed to promote tourism at the shore but has been criticized by some parents and teachers. Hogan, a Republican, also vetoed bills that would slowly increase the minimum wage to $15 by 2025 and take alcohol and tobacco enforcement away from the state comptroller. Democratic lawmakers who pushed the measures, which all passed by wide margins, are expected to override the governor. [Baltimore Sun]

BIKE LANE ENFORCEMENT | New Orleans police say they will crack down on enforcement against people driving in bike lanes, while training officers to think from the perspective of cyclists. [NOLA.com]

FRACKING | A proposal to ban fracking is moving through the Florida, but environmentalists say the proposal isn’t strong enough, allowing an alternative method to be used. [Miami Herald]

POLICE PROBLEMS | Recruitment troubles at a small Maine police department could force the closure of the agency. Right now, after departures, just the police chief and a part-time officer are on the job in the town of Thomaston, population 2,800. This summer, voters will decide whether to keep paying for the agency or have the Knox County Sheriff’s Office take over policing coverage in the town. [Bangor Daily News]

Laura Maggi is Managing Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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