Friday, November 5, 2021

Coronavirus in rural America (Part CLVI): Small city in northern California declares itself "constitutional republic city" to avoid state health mandates

Here's today's story by The Guardian, headlined, "California town declares itself a ‘constitutional republic’ to buck Covid rules."  Dani Anguiano reports:  

A northern California town has declared itself a “constitutional republic” in response to Covid-19 health restrictions imposed by the governor, in the latest sign of strife between the state’s government and its rural and conservative regions.

The city council in Oroville, located at the base of the Sierra Nevada foothills about 90 miles from the capital of Sacramento, adopted a resolution this week stating it would oppose state and federal orders it deems to be government overreach.

Oroville leaders said the designation was a way of affirming the city’s values and pushing back against state rules it doesn’t agree with, although a legal expert said the designation was merely a gesture and did not grant the city any new authority.

These events raise important issues about state and local government powers and the relations between these scales of government.  

The only news outlet to take up this matter before The Guardian was the Chico Enterprise-Record, with a rather garbled report of what happened.  The definition of a constitutional republic and its relationship to being a municipality under California law is never explained, nor is its clear relationship to "democracy," though I'm sure that a form of government can be both a constitutional republic and a democracy--that the two are not mutually exclusive. 

Here is a clip about the matter from CBS Channel 13 in Sacramento.     

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