GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – After an extended Ottawa County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board voted Wednesday morning to approve a resolution making the county a “constitutional county.”
The meeting began at 6:30 pm on Tuesday night according to the Holland Sentinel, though the vote did not take place until after midnight and more than 100 public comments. The votes numbered 9 in favor of the measure while 1 vote was against it, and only one member was absent.
“The Constitution is a contract of timeless principles that created and defined government for a singular purpose — to secure the rights of the people,” Vice Chair Sylvia Rhodea said after making the motion and reading the resolution. “We are committed to upholding the Constitution as written.
Chairman Joe Moss also commented that the resolution aligned with the contract written by Ottawa Impact, and that he’s “very happy to fulfill that commitment that I made very publicly and have supported for a long time,” according to the Sentinel.
Commissioner Doug Zylstra was the only one to vote against it and on Twitter explained his vote was caused by a lack of clarity over who will interpret the constitutionality of laws.
“I was disappointed that my motion to offer a substitute amendment to the Constitutional County Resolution failed,” Zylstra said in a tweet, “I believe it would have accomplished our stated goal of demonstrating the Board’s commitment to ensuring that Ottawa County is a place where Constitutional freedoms are honored and respected and would have addressed various of the concerns brought to us by Ottawa residents.”
The resolution has limits such as the board cannot direct how the sheriff and prosecutor perform their duties, however the chairman’s resolution “strongly encourages them to continuously act in a constitutional manner” and says the board will not authorize or appropriate any funds or resources “for the purpose of enforcing any statute, law, rule, order or regulation that restricts the rights of any law-abiding citizen.”
The board also expressed their resolve not to use any funds or resources on enforcing any law or rule that “restricts the rights of any law-abiding citizen affirmed by the United States Constitution.”
The Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker also was present for the meeting and made a comment after the vote.
“I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and the Constitution of the state of Michigan, as well as to enforce state and local laws. The citizens of this county elected me as their sheriff to uphold my oath of office,” he said. “I will continue to direct my command staff and deputies to uphold their oaths as well.
During the public comment, advocates and opponents mentioned recent gun
laws passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, including red flag laws which allow courts to remove firearms from those deemed unfit to possess them. Critics often object to the scope of individuals whose testimony could be used in the decision including: medical professionals, family members, a physician, someone residing in the same household, former spouses or those who have had a dating relationship with the individual, and law enforcement.
The vote comes a month after Livingston County voted to make itself a constitutional carry county in April.