Sanctuary county resolution approved
By Kendra Lamer
WEST BEND — The Washington County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday unanimously approved 2020 Resolution 17 — Washington County Advocates the Constitutional Rights of its Citizens.
The resolution reaffirms the oath county supervisors took upon swearing in to uphold rights of Washington County residents under the U.S. Constitution.
According to the resolution, “We the People” affirms the U.S. government exists to serve the nation’s people and “We the People hold dear and sacred and challenge all those who would seek to infringe upon the rights of the people.”
District 6 Supervisor Denis Kelling announced via Facebook on July 4 supervisors would introduce the sanctuary county resolution to fight broad overreach by states and any groups seeking to mandate masks, closures and fines.
The resolution was inspired by one from Waukesha County officials to become a sanctuary county for Second Amendment rights. That resolution, however, was pushed to the wayside in light of elections and COVID-19.
The Washington County resolution was again brought up after the elections in April and the “Safer at Home” orders were extended.
County Attorney Brad Stern filed an amicus brief which was cited in the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the extension.
Washington County supervisors decided to create a resolution which encompasses all constitutional rights, rather than one item. Included in this would be opposing mandates by state government to require masks, closures and fines, as well as any other items which could infringe on these rights.
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“We want to make sure the oath you took on day one, that’s something you’re committed to despite what other government bodies try to do,” said Kelling. ”We are going to hold true to the Constitution. We are going to fight for it on every level at every opportunity. This is who we are. This is one of the most conservative counties in Wisconsin. Who would lead if not us?”
District 1 Supervisor Kristine Deiss said she was sad COVID-19 had turned political.
“It is my dream that we care enough about each other to do whatever it takes to keep all of us healthy and safe,” she said.
She stated the board should help supply the most current information available about the virus and supported reaffirming the oath she has taken in more than 20 years as an elected official.
“It’s about upholding my oath to office and the constitution,” said District 15 Supervisor Pamela Konrath, who is also a nurse. “People are concerned this is a political stunt, but some things that are out there in our robe of media and Facebook unfortunately get twisted and off course, and emotions can run wild.”
Health department resolution
County supervisors also approved 2020 Resolution 18 — Support for the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department and Authorization for the use of “Routes to Recovery” dollars.
The health department had been receiving threats and employees have been screamed at by people regarding the COVID-19 response.
When the “Safer at Home” orders were struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, the health department allowed businesses to stay open and recommended guidelines be followed.
The resolution also authorizes Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann to use “Routes to Recovery” dollars allocated by the Wisconsin Department of Administration as a compensation premium to compensate county employees fighting the public health crisis at the local level. The program provides a share of $200 million aimed at addressing urgent COVID-19 needs on the local level.
“Their recommendations — not orders — are meant as guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID19,” said Chairman Don Kriefall.