Portland Community Health Center medical assistant Shelby Heggeman (right) prepares a vaccination on Monday. The center partnered with the University of New England to hold a free measles, mumps and rubella vaccine clinic at the its Park Avenue location.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that would scrap nonmedical exemptions to Maine’s school vaccine requirements could die amid a disagreement between the legislative chambers on a religious exemption after a narrow Tuesday vote in the House of Representatives.

The Democratic-led chamber voted 75-68 on Tuesday to stick by a version of a bill from Rep. Ryan Tipping, D-Orono, that would make Maine the fourth state to have no religious exemption to vaccine requirements in a bid to reduce rising opt-out rates among kindergarteners that ranked sixth-highest in the U.S. last year.

Last week, the Maine Senate endorsed a version by a one-vote margin that would preserve the religious exemption and repeal a personal exemption. Proponents of Tipping’s bill — which is backed by many in the medical community and Gov. Janet Mills — say that move could effectively neuter the bill. Opponents have largely cited personal freedom arguments.

The bill will face further action in the Senate. If the upper chamber doubles down on its position, the proposal could die altogether. The Senate could also flip to endorse the House version, but one lawmaker there would have to change his or her mind for that to happen.

Four Democrats in the Senate voted last week to preserve the religious exemption. On Tuesday in the House, all but 10 Democrats voted with one Republican — Scott Strom of Pittsfield — and one liberal independent to repeal the religious exemption.

The Democrats who voted with most Republicans for the religious exemption were Robert Alley of Beals, Jessica Fay of Raymond, Craig Hickman of Winthrop, John Martin of Eagle Lake, Danny Martin of Sinclair, Anne Perry of Calais, Joe Perry of Bangor, Steve Stanley of Medway, Archie Verow of Brewer and Charlotte Warren of Hallowell. Four independents joined them.

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Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...