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California City Declares Itself a ‘Constitutional Republic’ Defying COVID-19 Mandates

Published: December 1, 2021
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Protestors gather in Grand Park outside City Hall at a March for Freedom rally demonstrating against the L.A. City Council’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees and contractors on November 8, 2021, in Los Angeles, California. (Image: MARIO TAMA/Getty Images)

A Californian town declared itself a constitutional republic last month to halt what city authorities refer to as increasing federal overreach concerning the imposition of COVID-19 mandates, with many saying the resolution has “no teeth.”

The resolution, issued on Nov. 2, stated, “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED by the Oroville City Council that the City of Oroville is declared to be a Constitutional Republic City,” adding “That any executive orders issued by the State of California or by the United States federal government that are overreaching or clearly violate our constitutionally protected rights will not be enforced by the City of Oroville against its citizens.”

According to the East Bay Times, the resolution passed in a 6-1 vote and was mainly intended to “reaffirm to people what type of government we live under,” Mayor Chuck Reynolds said.

“With all of these emergencies and leaders declaring emergencies, it puts one person in charge, and they can do pretty much what they want even when the emergency is no longer an immediate threat…” Reynolds clarified.

With Oroville as its seat, Butte County has a population of about 220,000, with roughly 47 percent of its inhabitants being fully vaccinated. This makes it one of the least vaccinated counties in California, with an average vaccination rate of 64 percent.

California mandating child vaccination the breaking-point

For Oroville Vice Mayor Scott Thomson, a proponent of the resolution, Governor Gavin Newsom’s mandate requiring schoolchildren to be vaccinated against COVID-19 was his breaking point.

“Now that the mandates have gone from not just putting something on the outside of your body or modifying how you run your business, but now shoving something inside your body that nobody knows the long-term effects of, that’s just like, OK, now you’re, in my opinion, crossing the line,” Thomson told the Press Democrat.

Thomson said, “I proposed it after 18 months of increasingly intrusive executive mandates and what I felt to be excessive overreach by our government,” The Guardian reported. “After the failed recall in California, our state governor seems to [be] on a rampage, and the mandates are getting more intrusive. Now he’s going after our kids and schools,” he added.

READ MORE: 10 States Contest’ Unlawful’ Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

Counselor Dave Pittman told the East Bay Times there are way too many rules that state and federal law bodies try to impose on local communities, and that’s why Oroville is pushing back.

“It’s about local government taking care of its citizens period, and that[‘s] what we’re doing,” Pittman said.

“We stand by and believe in our constitution; our republic, and we believe that many times others in state and federal government are exceeding their authority across the board in everything we do. Mandates eliminate personal right of choice – to get vaccinated or not, to vaccinate your kids or not — and violate basic constitutional choice we all have,” Pittman said.

Councilmember Janet Goodson expressed her concerns about the possibility of Oroville losing out on millions in COVID funding if it were to abide by its resolution to no longer comply with state and federal mandates, KRCR reported.

However, city attorney Scott Huber argued that the resolution is not a policy, and it doesn’t change the city’s ordinance. It can be customized if needed, so “As a result, there is no risk of loss of funding with it,” he said.

Mayor Reynolds also stated that the resolution “doesn’t change anything.” “Again, it’s simply reminding people what kind of government we live under and that they do have personal choices and freedoms,” he added.

The resolution does not impact any school mandates since the state school districts police them. Or, as Councilmember Art Hartley put it, “basically all we’re doing is making a political statement…it has absolutely no teeth.”