County Board Backs Constitution ResolutionIssue Date: January 26, 2022
After months of wrangling, Marinette County Board at its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 25 approved a resolution expressing support for the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights, with specific mention of the Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms.
The resolution is to be sent to state and federal lawmakers. A more specific resolution in favor of the Second Amendment had been rejected by County Board in December at the urging of Supervisor Stan Gruszynski, who suggested the more generalized version that was subsequently approved by the Administrative Committee and forwarded to County Board. At the Administrative Committee meeting Gruszynski had proposed a resolution with alternative wording, but it was not approved. In previous months County Board has rejected resolutions aimed at making Marinette County a sanctuary county for Second Amendment rights.
In its final form, the resolution expressing support for the Second Amendment and the entire Constitution and its amendments was approved on Tuesday with 18 of the 30 supervisors voting in favor, four absent, three abstaining and five voting no. The five "No" votes were cast by Supervisors Mike Behnke, Ken Keller, Glenn Broderick, Gail Wanek and Clancy Whiting. Supervisors Chris Gromala, Gruszynski and Tom Mandli abstained. Supervisors Al Mans, Tom Gromala and Al Sauld were absent and excused and Supervisor Jillian Schutte was absent and unexcused.
The resolution read:
WHEREAS, Marinette County Board Supervisors are elected to represent the people of Marinette County and are duly sworn by their oath of office to uphold the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, some Marinette County Citizens have indicated they believe it is important for the County Board to specifically show their support for the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution; and
WHEREAS, a majority of the County Board wishes to not only demonstrate their support for the 2nd Amendment but the entire Constitution and all Amendments; and
WHEREAS, the purpose for the adoption of the Constitution is well summarized in the preamble which states "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Prosperity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America" and
WHEREAS, the United States Constitution adopted in 1787 establishes the basic principles of the legal, political, and economic system; and
WHEREAS, in 1791, a list of Ten (10) Amendments consisting of the following: 1st -Freedom of religion, speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the government; 2nd - Right to keep and bear arms; 3rd ?? Soldiers cannot take or live in a person's house; 4th ?? Government cannot arrest a person or search a person's property unless there is probable cause; 5th ?? Government must follow the law (due process) before punishing a person; 6th ?? Person has a right to a fair and speedy trial by Jury; 7th ?? Person has a right to a Jury trial for civil cases; 8th ?? Government cannot demand excessive bail or fines, or cruel and unusual punishment; 9th ?? Constitution does not include all the rights of the people and the states; and 10th ?? Any power the Constitution does not give to the Federal Government belongs to the states, were added and are referred to as the Bill of Rights and over the years additional amendments were added; and
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Marinette County Board of Supervisors supports the Constitution and all 27 Amendments and strongly opposes any modifications to the Bill of Rights and further opposes any special legislation that would infringe on those rights; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Marinette County Board directs the County Clerk to distribute copies of this resolution to the Governor of the State of Wisconsin and the State and Federal Representatives elected to represent the citizens of Marinette County.
Adopted this 25th day of January 2022, by a majority vote of a quorum of the Marinette County Board.
The sole speaker during time for public comment at the start of the meeting was Bob Orlando of Wausaukee. Several members of the United Constitutionalists of Marinette County were on hand to express support.
Orlando thanked the Administrative committee for putting the resolution forward with specific mention of Second Amendment rights, but asked the board to attach a stronger statement in favor of the right to keep and bear arms. In its original form the resolution had expressed strong opposition to attempts to impose added taxes and restrictions on weapons and the ammunition to go with them. The United Constitutionalists had obtained more than 2,500 signatures from Marinette County visitors or residents on informal petitions asking for the Sanctuary County declaration.
Orlando declared in today's political world, law abiding citizens are being cast as villains while criminals are the victims. He declared the Mayor of New York City, in view of all the recent shootings there, has been asking how they can get the guns out of New York city when he should be asking how they can get the criminals out.
He said when laws went into effect in 2006 through 2017 allowing trained responsible citizens to carry concealed weapons the murder rates dropped drastically, and the reverse happens when people cannot defend themselves. He noted at a church in Texas not too long ago a parishioner with a gun used one shot to stop what would have been a mass murder event. He was concerned about "draconian measures" gun opponents are taking to get weapons out of the hands of responsible citizens, particularly an announcement by the Center for Disease control that possession of guns is now considered a major health threat.
Orlando's allocated five minutes ran out before his address was finished. County Board Chair John Guarisco, in view of recent rule changes, declined to allow anyone in the audience to donate more time, so Orlando ended his comments without reading the attachment he had asked for.
When the resolution came up for action by the board motion to approve was made by Grebin and promptly seconded by Polzin.
"I think this whole resolution is a waste of time," Ken Keller declared. "I think it is politically motivated." He said voting against the resolution doesn't mean they don't support the Constitution.
"I've been listening to these arguments every month," declared Behnke as he began a long argument against approving the resolution. He said the 30 County Board supervisors are elected as non-partisan representatives from all parts of the county, and said he tries not to be Republican or Democrat in his decisions. He declared the First and Second amendments are very important to everyone, and all supervisors take an oath of office to support the constitution when they start their terms.
"I don't know why we've allowed this to come this far," Behnke went on."We're not party affiliated here, and we should not be."
"This is so common-sense," Grebin said when Behnke ended his long dissertation. "This is a resolution...We're not passing a law." She said the idea is to support the wishes of their constituents, and send a message to legislators expressing those wishes. Grebin said last year the Wisconsin Assembly passed a resolution supporting Second Amendment rights, and the State Senate also did so - "by a 29 to 1 margin, and they used the word "sanctuary'."
"We have the votes, we have people who care," Grebin concluded before the vote that approved the resolution.
"This group has done its leg work, done its homework," declared Supervisor Allen. "They came to us with a specific request, and we should at least have the courtesy to vote on this...I really hope we vote on this, and I hope the vote is successful!"
Vote was then called, and the resolution was approved.
County Administrator John LeFebvre said copies of the new Marinette County Visitor Guide prepared by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism had been delivered last week, and are now to be distributed throughout the county. He said anyone wanting copies should contact him or Development Director Jennifer Short.
LeFebvre said the county will be represented at the Green Bay Recreation and Camping show this coming weekend.
From 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, there is to be a candlelight/lantern walk at Goodman Park. There are to be campfires, hot chocolate, coffee and more for visitors, and the only charge is the regular park entrance fee, LeFebvre said.
Work on the 5-year comprehensive Marinette County parks plan is in progress. The proposed plan will be on the county website for 30 days for public comment.
LeFebvre reported on more county offices being moved to new locations in the original courthouse; the Annex, which has become a Judicial Center to house courtrooms and services associated with them, and the resource center, which is the new home of many county offices that serve the public.
LeFebvre said his office and that of Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison are being moved to the second floor of the original courthouse, and the District Attorney's office will be moved to the Judicial Center.
Forestry and Parks offices will be on the first floor of the original courthouse, and Human Resources will go into the old Parks and Forestry offices.
Parks and Forestry staff are busy working on renovations for the kitchen at the jail, which includes moving all appliances and cabinetry to allow a new epoxy coating on the floor. For about three weeks while the work is in progress jail inmates will get two cold meals and one hot one each day, with the hot one delivered from Green Bay.
LeFebvre said just after the first of the year the county modified its Covid rules, and employees are encouraged to stay home if they are sick, and must quarantine if they test positive. He said even if an employee is quarantined, "We do everything we can to give them productive work to do from home." Those whose jobs cannot be done from home often are assigned to do training while they are in quarantine.
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