Oroville’s city council recently declared itself a constitutional republic, citing that they would reject Gov. Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 regulations as the reason. The resolution was passed 6-1.
Oroville rejected the state regulations last year prohibiting indoor dining, adding that Oroville’s county of Butte also declined to endorse a mask mandate in the fall. Oroville is home to approximately 20,000 people and is located 90 miles from Sacramento.
Legal experts have doubted the efficacy of the city’s resolution despite it being passed by the council. Lisa Pruitt, a UC Davis professor of law, states that a municipality cannot declare it not subject to California’s laws.
Oroville’s city council members acknowledge the legality and legitimacy of their resolution, adding how some council members acknowledge that the move was a political statement.
City vice-mayor Scott Thomson, the one who spearheaded the resolution, affirms the city’s commitment to the Constitution. Thomson states that he suggested it after months of increasing intrusive executive orders and excessive government overreach. He said he is drawing the line and that it is not against any particular mandate. He adds how it is a torrent of mandates.
Councilman Art Hartley voted for the resolution and stated that they are making a political statement that doesn’t have any teeth. Others are concerned about the financial implications of this resolution, adding how the county received millions of dollars in COVID-19 funding during the pandemic. City Attorney Scott Huber assured the council that funding would not be affected by the resolution and that there is no risk to lose funding with it. He adds that the resolution didn’t change the ordinance.
Huber has also compared the county’s resolution to other California cities that defied Newsom’s policies and declared themselves sanctuary cities.