The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners swore an oath to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan, which protect the People’s rights to Life, Liberty, and pursuit of Happiness, and further preserve the right of parents to determine and direct the care of their children. The Constitutions also guarantee freedom of assembly, speech, religion, and due process of law.
Constitutional freedoms are not suspended in times of crisis. Although the threat from the COVID-19 virus is serious, civil liberties are not contingent on public health crises.
Title 18, U.S.C. Section 242, states, “Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, … shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.”
On March 10, 2020, Governor Whitmer declared a State of Emergency and subsequently issued nearly 200 Executive Orders:
- closing public and parochial schools,
- depriving citizens of “non-essential” medical and dental procedures,
- prohibiting assembly in public places and private residences,
- prohibiting citizens’ movement including travel between their own residences,
- instituting contact tracing and quarantines,
- closing “non-essential” businesses,
- even prohibiting outdoor work deemed “non-essential”,
- re-opening select businesses with restrictions,
- restricting the purchase of seeds and other “non-essential” goods,
- restricting the use of motorized boats,
- and requiring the wearing of masks.
After the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that her orders were unconstitutional, similar orders were and continue to be issued through her administrative branch via the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), including masking children and toddlers as young as 2 years of age, coerced medical procedures in the form of forced COVID-19 testing of student athletes, and quarantine of healthy students without due process. Recently, Governor Whitmer stated that freedom from such orders may possibly come when a large percentage of the Michigan population undergoes a medical procedure, which has only been given Emergency Use Authorization.
The initial purpose as stated in EO 2020-05 on March 13, 2020, was “to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to provide essential protections to vulnerable Michiganders and this state’s health care system and other critical infrastructure,” and noted “there is currently no approved vaccine or antiviral treatment for this disease.” Much was unknown at the time.
These orders of the Governor and MDHHS stripped citizens of personal choice and eroded the constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens and parents, resulting in undue burden, restrictions, and irreparable harm to citizens, local businesses and employees, loss of student education and socio-emotional development, and increased mental health and suicide risks of the youth of Ottawa County.
Differing opinions on the path to be taken in response to COVID-19 should be robustly debated and chosen by legislators that have been elected by the people. Governor Whitmer and state agencies do not have authority to unilaterally impose orders that essentially equate into laws.
Ottawa County recognizes the heroic efforts of front-line workers, citizens and businesses who have diligently worked to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, does not dismiss the seriousness of COVID-19 to citizens in vulnerable demographics, and appreciates the need for appropriate policies to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, while protecting the constitutional rights of individuals and local and state economic interests.
Please join us and sign the Resolution to Restore Freedom at https://ottawaresolution.com!