By Michelle Hazekamp
Amendment to Not Protect Rights
On Tuesday, January 18, Muskegon County Board of Commissioners voted 5-4 in favor to amend the county's "General Welfare" resolution in order to align with the Supreme Court's ruling that allows health care facilities who receive federal funding, to mandate the Covid “vaccine“ for its employees. The debate to amend the resolution was over Health West, a health care facility in Muskegon that provides mental health services to the public, and receives approximately 85% of their funding from Medicare and Medicaid. Two “Republican“ commissioners, Bob Scolnik and Doug Brown voted with the Democrats in favor of the amendment, thus choosing federal funding over the Constitutional rights of their constituents.
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, January 12, 2022, in an interim opinion that the federal government did have the authority granted to them by Congress to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations to all employees of health facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funding. However, the Supreme Court also issued a stay (suspension or postponement) allowing it to go back to the lower courts until a case is brought back before them with more strength to challenge the federal governments authority. Although the Supreme Courts opinions are highly regarded as the official verdict, the constitutionality of the CMS mandate is still in question and will further be argued in the lower courts.
Resolution To Protect Rights
In September of 2021, Muskegon County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution "To Promote General Welfare" of the Muskegon County citizens that prohibited the mandating of vaccines for government employees in order to protect their individual rights to make their own health decisions. The resolution passed with a 5-4 vote; those in favor were Commissioners Brown, Cyr, Lahring, Pego and Wilkins. You can read the original "Resolution to Promote General Welfare" by clicking here. The amendment consisted of an additional sentence that was added to one of the paragraphs.
The original paragraph reads as follows:
“Be It Further Resolved; Muskegon County shall not require of or mandate to any employee, prospective employee, or contractor any form of vaccine or similar medical treatment verification or medical test verification as a general condition of employment; and will not encourage employers located within Muskegon County to establish such mandates that so hinder medical autonomy; and”
Amended Version (with addition underlined):
“Be It Further Resolved: Muskegon County shall not require of or mandate to any employee, prospective employee, or contractor any form of vaccine or similar medical treatment verification or medical test verification as a general condition of employment; except to the extent required by federal law, rule or order specifically including omnibus Covid-19 health care staff vaccination 86 fed regulations 6155561556, Nov. 5,2021 vaccine requirement for health care staff , and will not encourage employers located within Muskegon County to establish such mandates that so hinder medical autonomy; and”
Betrayal to Muskegon County Citizens
The role of our elected officials is FIRST to protect our Constitutional rights, no matter what. Granted, this is a very difficult situation we have all been placed in. Health West has a potential risk of loss of funding if they refuse to comply with the mandate in order to preserve Constitutional rights. Yet, there is uncertainty how this would actually play out; if all funds would be withheld or not at all, at least right away. Nobody wants people to suffer from not receiving health care services they need, but everyone will suffer when we lose our rights and freedom to make decisions for ourselves. We must insist protecting our Constitutional rights as our top priority right now, because that is the only battle we are facing at this moment. If we give an inch, we are handing them miles. Once our freedoms are gone, it will be near impossible to get them back, if at all. As Republicans, Bob Scolnik and Doug Brown have a duty to uphold the core principle values of the Republican platform, which believes all rights are inherent in nature and not derived from government. They should have chosen the rights of the people over money, not doing so, they have betrayed the citizens of Muskegon County and their Oath of Office.
Email these commissioner and hold them accountable!
Bob Scolnik: firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Brown: email@example.com