The CDC reports that cases of measles nationwide have grown to more than 700, the worst outbreak for decades. New York's Rockland County has over 200 of these cases, and the new New York lawmakers call for the immediate passage of a bill for mandated vaccinations unless a person has a medical exception.
Lawmakers say the current law that allows a child to skip vaccinations for religious reasons creates too much a loophole and leads to what they say is a growing health crisis.
The Rocklands County Executive Ed Day tried to declare an emergency in his county, but it was overthrown. Day, a Republican, says the bill is a "god send."
"Waiting is a recipe for a medical disaster," Day said. "I can't be clearer than that."
The outbreak began in Rockland County last October after seven infected travelers from Israel visited New York's ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities in the county and in Brooklyn and the disease spread.
The day was at the state chapter along with the Assembly and Senate sponsors of a bill calling for all children to be immunized against measles and other diseases unless they have a medical exception.
Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Democrat, claims the outbreak of anti-vaccination the moment he says has been discredited by scientific research. He says vaccinations have saved millions of lives.
"Measles can kill. Measles can cause permanent damage: blindness, deafness, brain damage," Dinowitz said. "It's amazing that in this day and age of the 21
Dinowitz says that no major religion has a policy of vaccination, and believes that people refer to the religious exemption when their opposition actually comes from personal reasons.
"The religious exemption is a de facto personal exemption," he said. "When it actually has nothing to do with religion."
Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo has also raised objections to the bill, but not for scientific reasons saying there may be initial change problems involved.
Bill sponsors say they are talking to Cuomo about his reservations. Senator Brad Hoylman says he believes the claim would be constitutional.  "There is a long case law that supports the elimination of non-medical exceptions," said Hoylman, who said a similar measure in California was maintained in c ourts.
Cuomo talked about Long Island Monday changed his attitude and said he is now backing religious exceptions for vaccinations for this particular outbreak.
"I don't think in this case the religious exemption is appropriate, said Cuomo.
But the governor did not say whether he supports the bill.
Cuomo says that health officials in his administration work with Rockland County and New York City to address what he says is a "health hazard. "
Hoylman and other supporters of the measure say they do not know if there are enough votes in the legislature to pass the bill. But they say they hope to get enough support to have a summer law. Senator James Skoufis, representing parts of Rockland County, says if that doesn't happen, things could get much worse.
"In a few months everyone is on a summer vacation," said Skoufis. "And we must have infected children, infected families, traveling around this state, around this country, infecting other New Yorkers and other Americans. We must act now. "
Meanwhile, the Senate has begun a public awareness campaign on the importance of vaccinations.