The state’s immunization rate for children is declining sharply, prompting Gov. Ned Lamont on Monday to join legislative leaders in promising to repeal Connecticut’s religious exemption during the 2020 legislative session.

“This is clear and necessary action needed to protect our children,” said state Public Health Commissioner Renee Coleman-Mitchell, noting that a “troubling trend” is emerging, particularly among the more than 100 schools that fall below the federally recommended 95-percent immunization rate.

“I must follow the science that has been proven for 50 years,” Coleman-Mitchell said during a morning news conference in the State Capitol.

“This issue has become ever more critical,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven. He stressed that parents of children with compromised immune systems need support. “This is not a religious issue. It’s a public-health issue.”

House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, warned that lawmakers need “courage.”