Following public comments over the last several months over concern about governmental overreach, the Chautauqua County Legislature passed a motion last night that calls on elected officials to act within the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution.
Legislator Bill Ward asked to table the motion due to wanting more clarity on what “kind of teeth” the motion has, but the tabling request did not receive a second to move forward.
Legislator John Davis, who was one of the sponsors of the motion along with Legislator Dan Pavlock and County Executive PJ Wendel, said each legislator has been sworn to uphold the Constitution, “It has become clear, in my opinion, especially during this Pandemic, that there are some elected officials at the state and federal levels who have used mandates to push the limits of their constitutional authority as they seek to achieve their own policy objectives. This motion serves as a reminder to all elected officials of their oath to uphold the Constitution.”
The motion passed 13 to 6.
A second motion asking New York State to consider alternative preventive procedures against COVID-19 transmission and infection for those healthcare workers who decline to get vaccinated also passed.
Legislator Bill Ward said if daily testing can be done for healthcare workers, that’s a step forward versus the current mandate, but he emphasized he endorses the vaccine for everyone who is eligible. He also expressed worry about the intent of the Legislature’s motion given that many constituents have said they want an ordinance versus a motion, “If this is a step towards moving us toward a county that disobeys the law, it’s not gonna happen. That has to happen in court. If you want to change a law you have to go to court. We can’t do this in this body we can’t do it certainly with a motion.”
Legislators Chuck Nazzaro, Terry Niebel, Christine Starks and Elisabeth Rankin also voiced that they support the COVID-19 vaccine but don’t want to see the healthcare industry unnecessarily burdened by requiring workers be vaccinated. The motion passed 17 to 2.