A northern California town has declared itself a “constitutional republic” in a push back against Covid-19 health restrictions imposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
The city council of Oroville voted 6-1 in favor of the resolution, continuing the town’s battle with the government over COVID mandates.
The council stated it would oppose any state and federal orders that are deemed to be government overreach.
Oroville, which is 90 miles from Sacramento, has a population of approximately 20,000. Throughout the pandemic, the rural area repeatedly clashed with California’s leadership over restrictions and mandates.
Last year, according to The Guardian, “Oroville refused to enforce state requirements prohibiting indoor dining. Butte county, where Oroville is located, declined to recommend a mask mandate earlier this fall”.
Mayor Chuck Reynolds said ” assure you folks that great thought was put into every bit of this”. “Nobody willy-nilly threw something to grandstand,” he added.
Lisa Pruitt, a University of California, Davis, law professor explained that “A municipality cannot unilaterally declare itself not subject to the laws of the state of California”. “Whatever they mean by constitutional republic you can’t say hocus pocus and make it happen”.
Officials in Oroville say the resolution is an effort to fight back against state government and affirm the city’s values. The vice-mayor, Scott Thomson, stated “I proposed it after 18 months of increasingly intrusive executive mandates and what I felt to be excessive overreach by our government. It’s just basically drawing the line. It’s not necessarily against one specific mandate”.
Some council members are worried about the fiscal impact that this might have, but Attorney Scott Huber assured funding will remain intact.