A bill that could strip healthcare professionals who disseminate COVID-19 “misinformation or disinformation” of their medical licenses passed the California State Assembly with a 53-20 vote Thursday, moving it forward to the state Senate.

California’s AB-2098, introduced by Assemblyman Evan Low, a Democrat, designates the promotion of COVID-19 misinformation as “unprofessional conduct” meriting disciplinary action by the Medical Board of California and the Osteopathic Medical Board of California.

Cited in the bill is a July 2021 statement from the Federation of State Medical Boards’ Board of Directors, which informed physicians that spreading “inaccurate COVID vaccine” information would put them at risk of losing their licenses. AB-2098 would make that statement California law.

“Major news outlets have reported that some of the most dangerous propagators of inaccurate information regarding the COVID vaccines are licensed health care professionals,” the bill reads.

Aren’t we supposed to trust the experts?

Not even bothering to cite which news outlets, the legislature effectively elevated itself and the media above medical professionals with clinical experience, specialized knowledge, and years of schooling. Apparently, a journalist with no medical background who parrots what government agencies proclaim as a standard of truth is more reliable than dissenting peer-reviewed scientific studies.

The bill makes misinformation about “prevention and treatment” subject to the charge of professional misconduct. Could the licenses of medical professionals who question the Food and Drug Administration's corrupt review process and the exclusion of effective and cheap drugs from hospital COVID-19 protocols be threatened?

What about “misinformation” regarding vaccines? Would the authors of a recently published study investigating the damaging effects of vaccine mandates, who have Ph.D.s from universities such as Johns Hopkins and Harvard, be held accountable?

According to Section 2b, “misinformation” means “false information that is contradicted by contemporary scientific consensus to an extent where its dissemination constitutes gross negligence by the licensee.”

Consensus is a synonym for government-approved. The Medical Board of California will presumably be left to define what constitutes a consensus. Clearly, only certain experts get a say.

Similar tactics have been used by the Biden administration in its efforts to persuade Facebook to remove vaccine misinformation and its announcement of the Disinformation Governance Board.

Premature declarations of consensus misunderstand the role of scientific inquiry and lead to bad policy, as the past few years should have taught us. Science is not stagnant. It depends on the free flow of information and the ability to test competing hypotheses. Government entities cannot dictate consensus without stunting the progress of actual science.

We need to be on guard against the government's increasing willingness to step in and dictate truth, using the name of science to seize power.

Katelynn Richardson is a summer 2022 Washington Examiner fellow.