Ottawa County offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024 in observance of Memorial Day.

Board of Commissioners

Resolutions heading with American Flag background

Citizens for Local Choice Resolution

April 23, 2024

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 23rd day of April, 2024 at 6:30 PM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Joe Moss, Roger Bergman, Kendra Wenzel, Rebekah Curran, and Sylvia Rhodea. ABSENT: Commissioners: Jacob Bonnema.

It was moved by Commissioner Belknap and supported by Commissioner Wenzel that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners strongly supports preserving local control of zoning; and

WHEREAS, in October 2023, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution opposing the state’s plan to assume control of wind and solar zoning; and

WHEREAS, Public Act 233 of 2023 strips away zoning powers from local officials for large scale utility projects and places them into the control of the state centralized Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC); and

WHEREAS, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners remains committed to preserving local control and opposing state centralization of zoning; and

WHEREAS, by granting the Michigan Public Service Commission this authority, local control is circumvented, disenfranchising local communities; and

WHEREAS, Citizens for Local Choice is leading a ballot initiative to amend Public Act 233 of 2023 to restore local control of zoning for these large scale utility projects; and

WHEREAS, a poll commissioned by the Michigan Townships Association found more than 87% of Michigan citizens agree that permitting for utility-scale renewable energy should remain at the local level. This includes 85% of Democrats, 91% of Republicans, and 84% of independents supporting local control; and

WHEREAS, if not stopped, local control of zoning will be stripped away when Public Act 233 goes into effect in November 2024.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Ottawa County continues to oppose the pre-emption of local control in solar and wind siting and zoning; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Ottawa County continues to oppose state mandates for large scale utility projects; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Ottawa County supports Citizens for Local Choice’s efforts to protect local control and prevent the state centralization of massive energy projects; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this resolution be forwarded to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, all Ottawa County legislators, and the other 82 counties in the State of Michigan.

YEAS: Roger Belknap, Rebekah Curran, Gretchen Cosby, Sylvia Rhodea, Kendra Wenzel, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Joe Moss and Roger Bergman.
NAYS: Douglas Zylstra. ABSTENTIONS: Commissioners: None.

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Autism Awareness Month Resolution

April 23, 2024

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 23rd day of April, 2024 at 6:30 PM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Joe Moss, Roger Bergman, Kendra Wenzel, Rebekah Curran, and Sylvia Rhodea. ABSENT: Commissioners: Jacob Bonnema.

It was moved by Commissioner Rhodea and supported by Commissioner Curran that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, April is recognized across the United States and international community as being Autism Awareness Month; and

WHEREAS, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners (“Board”) recognizes that Autism Awareness includes not only acceptance of those affected, but increased awareness to healing treatments and root causes of Autism; and

WHEREAS, in 2020, the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network reported that roughly 1 in 36 eight-year-old children were identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and the percentage of affected individuals (both adults and children) with ASD has increased over four times since the year 2000; and

WHEREAS, the increasing rate of children with ASD is reflected in an increase in the number of children obtaining care for ASD in Ottawa County. The increased number of children impacted with ASD necessitates development of long-term strategies for family and community resources, particularly as children and parents age over time; and

WHEREAS, a well-supported family in an informed and equipped community gives a child with autism the best chance of success and development with hope for the future; and

WHEREAS, the Board recognizes a variation in symptoms and severity exists in youth and adults diagnosed with ASD, with a corresponding range of challenges and impact for individuals and families; and

WHEREAS, the Board recognizes the hardships that parents and families may face in dealing with ASD diagnosis and the importance of diagnosis and community resources; and

WHEREAS, the Board is committed to supporting children and adults diagnosed with ASD, as well as the families of those affected with ASD, by providing education and resources. We stand with families in asking for continued research that will provide additional answers and solutions for impacted families; and

WHEREAS, it is widely recognized that there are early warning signs for ASD in young children including but not limited to: delayed speech, poor fine motor skills, poor gross motor skills, repetitive behaviors, sensory issues, lack of eye contact, and/or anti-social behaviors; and

WHEREAS, early intervention results in improved outcomes. Further, the group Early On provides in-home evaluations of children under the age of three (3) to detect developmental delays (including ASD) and provides families with in-home therapies and solutions if significant delays are found; and

WHEREAS, the Board recognizes the compassionate commitment of families, schools, teachers, therapists, and medical professionals to provide care for children and adults with ASD, as well as, the work of churches and businesses to provide sensory areas; and

WHEREAS, the Board recognizes the work of Community Mental Health and the Sheriff’s Department in providing and utilizing Carter Kits for children with ASD in crisis situations, as well as, the Children’s Mobile Crisis team; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Board is committed to bringing awareness to the treatments and resources available for families affected by ASD, and to continue to support families and resources for children and adults diagnosed with ASD; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board encourages continued investigation into the cause of the increase in ASD diagnosis in children, as well as continued research and development of prevention and treatment strategies for children and individuals with ASD; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board declares April 2024 to be Autism Awareness Month in Ottawa County; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution be sent to Michigan Senators Mark Huizenga, Roger Victory, and Rick Outman, Michigan Representatives Nancy DeBoer, Luke Meerman, Brad Slagh, Rachelle Smit, and Greg VanWoerkom, to the Clerk of each county in the State of Michigan, and all Ottawa County department directors.

YEAS: Roger Belknap, Rebekah Curran, Gretchen Cosby, Sylvia Rhodea, Kendra Wenzel, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Joe Moss, Douglas Zylstra and Roger Bergman.
NAYS: None. ABSTENTIONS: Commissioners: None.

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Resolution to Protect Life

April 23, 2024

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 23rd day of April, 2024 at 6:30 PM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Kendra Wenzel, Sylvia Rhodea, Rebekah Curan, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Joe Moss, Roger Bergman. ABSENT: Commissioners: Jacob Bonnema.

It was moved by Commissioner Rhodea and supported by Commissioner Cosby that the following Resolution be adopted

WHEREAS, America is an exceptional nation made up of beautiful people, who share a history of triumph over adversity, with our nation built on the strength of our founding documents. The Declaration of Independence eloquently affirms, and the Constitution protects, the God-given, unalienable right to life; and

WHEREAS, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners ("Board") swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State of Michigan. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Federal Constitution guarantee that no person be deprived of life without due process of law; and

WHEREAS, abortion, the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device harms women and intentionally terminates her pregnancy by causing the death of her preborn child; and

WHEREAS, the right to life belongs equally to all members of humanity including children born and preborn, individuals healthy or unhealthy, and the elderly or infirm. The unspeakable harm to women and the loss of over 63 million preborn babies following the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade does not negate the right to life; and

WHEREAS, the fifty plus years following Roe v. Wade additionally resulted in a cheapening of the perceived worth and respect for the sanctity of human life, and the anguish of millions of women and girls pressured to have an abortion; and

WHEREAS, medical and scientific evidence establishes the beginning of a human being’s life cycle to be at fertilization. Children are persons before birth, sharing all the basic attributes of human personality. Preborn children have morally and legally protectable interests in life, health, personal security, and well-being; and

WHEREAS, in 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade through Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, affirming that there is no Federal constitutional right to an abortion; and

WHEREAS, the people of Ottawa County have a love for life, with a desire to safeguard laws protecting women, the rights of preborn children and future generations. Children are our greatest treasure and the preborn are our most vulnerable population; and

WHEREAS, in 1988 President Ronald Reagan shared on National Sanctity of Human Life Day, “Our Nation cannot continue down the path of abortion, so radically at odds with our history, our heritage, and our concepts of justice. This sacred legacy, and the well-being and the future of our country, demand that protection of the innocents must be guaranteed and that the personhood of the unborn be declared and defended throughout our land;” and

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Board affirms the unalienable personhood and rights of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death. Further, we commit to protect the lives and well-being of each member of our community including the life of the preborn, upholding the virtues of our nation and its founding; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that County staff and resources support women who make a choice for life for their preborn children and for counseling through existing resources throughout the county; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Board recognizes that the Ottawa County Department of Public Health does not provide abortions or transportation to abortion services, and the Board encourages this practice to continue; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Board encourages individuals and communities to promote life, support women in making a choice for life, protect the preborn, provide resources for expectant mothers, and support organizations, which assist mothers and fathers with life affirming decisions in unplanned pregnancies, and adopt and foster children, ensuring every child is valued, loved and protected; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that nothing in this Resolution shall be interpreted to conflict with the United States and Michigan Constitutions and Federal and State law, and shall be construed and applied in a manner consistent with the United States and Michigan Constitutions and Federal and State law.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution be sent to Michigan Senators Mark Huizenga, Roger Victory, and Rick Outman, Michigan Representatives Nancy DeBoer, Luke Meerman, Brad Slagh, Rachelle Smit, and Greg VanWoerkom, to the Clerk of each county in the State of Michigan, and all Ottawa County department directors.

YEAS: Roger Belknap, Rebekah Curran, Gretchen Cosby, Sylvia Rhodea, Kedra Wenzel, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Joe Moss.
NAYS: Douglas Zylstra and Roger Bergman. ABSTENTIONS: Commissioners: None.

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Adoption Day Resolution

November 21, 2023

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 21st day of November, 2023 at 8:00 o’clock a.m. local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Jacob Bonnema, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Joe Moss.

It was moved by Commissioner Cosby and supported by Commissioner Miedema that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, the State of Michigan recognizes the importance of giving children permanent, safe and loving families through adoption; and,

WHEREAS, more than 10,000 children are in the Michigan foster care system in 2023 and, of these approximately 250 children are awaiting adoption; and,

WHEREAS, to help these children find permanent, nurturing families, the 20th Circuit Court of Ottawa County will open its doors on Michigan Adoption Day, Tuesday, November 21, 2023, to finalize the adoptions of local children and join other organizations to celebrate all adoptions; and,

WHEREAS, this effort along with similar celebrations around the Country will offer children the chance to live with stable and loving families and encourage other dedicated individuals to make a powerful difference in the lives of children through adoption; and,

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim November 21, 2023 as Michigan Adoption Day in Ottawa County, and in so doing, urge all citizens to join in a national effort to raise awareness about the importance of adoption; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all resolutions and parts of resolutions insofar as they conflict with this Resolution are hereby repealed.

YEAS: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Jacob Bonnema, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Joe Moss, Douglas Zylstra,
NAYS: Commissioners:

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Resolution Opposing State Control of Solar Siting

October 24, 2023

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 24th day of October, 2023 at 8:00 AM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Jacob Bonnema, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss, Roger Bergman.

It was moved by Commissioner Roger Bergman and supported by Commissioner Roger Belknap that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, Executive Directive 2020-10 aims to achieve 100% carbon neutrality in Michigan by 2050; and

WHEREAS, industry leaders have pledged to reduce carbon emissions to help achieve this goal; and

WHEREAS, efforts to expand renewable energy projects will continue to increase in this state; and

WHEREAS, the governor has proposed the Michigan Public Service Commission be the sole regulating authority for solar and wind projects to expedite these efforts; and

WHEREAS, by granting the Michigan Public Service Commission this authority, local control will be preempted; and

WHEREAS, should local control be preempted, a county, township, city or village would be unable to determine the location, size, setback distance, decibel level or any other criteria for a solar or wind facility; and

WHEREAS, should local control be preempted, a county, township, city, or village would be unable to determine requirements for construction, operation, use, or maintenance of a solar or wind facility; and

WHEREAS, if a county already has a solar or wind policy, practice, regulation, rule or ordinance on record it would be null and void; and

WHEREAS, all other types of energy facilities, while regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission, must adhere to local zoning; and

WHEREAS, this proposal grants far more regulating authority to the Michigan Public Service Commission than for any other energy source; and

WHEREAS, the Michigan Association of Counties opposes any legislative action that may grant the Michigan Public Service Commission this power

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Ottawa County opposes the pre-emption of local control in solar and wind siting and zoning.

YEAS: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Jacob Bonnema, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss, Roger Bergman.
NAYS: Commissioners: Douglas Zylstra

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Childhood Vaccine Waivers for School and Childcare Resolution

August 22, 2023

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 22nd day of August, 2023 at 6:30 PM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Jacob Bonnema, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss, Roger Bergman.

It was moved by Commissioner Miedema and supported by Commissioner Curran that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners ("Board") swore an oath to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan, which protect the natural, Godgiven rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These Constitutions not only guarantee these freedoms, they also protect and guard against government infringing on these rights; and

WHEREAS, the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the rights of parents to make decisions concerning the care of their children and the right to make medical decisions on behalf of their children; and

WHEREAS, Michigan Revised School Code, MCL 380.10, affirms, “It is the natural, fundamental right of parents and legal guardians to determine and direct the care, teaching, and education of their children;” and

WHEREAS, constitutional freedoms are not suspended in times of crisis or everyday life, at the whim of elected officials, unelected health officials, or for the benefit of government bureaucracy or private institutions; and

WHEREAS, Michigan law provides exemptions to childhood vaccine requirements for school and licensed childcare programs for medical, religious, or other reasons, as follows:

MCL 333.9215 Exemptions. (1) A child is exempt from the requirements of this part as to a specific immunization for any period of time as to which a physician certifies that a specific immunization is or may be detrimental to the child's health or is not appropriate. (2) A child is exempt from this part if a parent, guardian, or person in loco parentis of the child presents a written statement to the administrator of the child's school or operator of the group program to the effect that the requirements of this part cannot be met because of religious convictions or other objection to immunization; and

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) enacted Administrative Rule 325.176 (12) on January 1, 2015, requiring parents or guardians who want a religious or philosophical exemption from one or more vaccines for their child(ren), to attend a vaccine education session at their local health department and obtain a state-issued certified waiver; and

WHEREAS, the Ottawa County Department of Public Health provides waiver appointments as established by MDHHS Administrative Rule; and

WHEREAS, the Board respects the right of parents to choose to vaccinate or to exempt their child from one or more vaccines, and acknowledges differing conclusions and practices exist within the medical community regarding the risk-benefit assessment of vaccines and communicable diseases; and

WHEREAS, the Board acknowledges individual genetic risks and contraindications exist regarding vaccines and medical interventions, and respects the right of parents and individuals to make personal medical decisions free of pressure and coercion; and

WHEREAS, the Board values the ethical standard of fully informed consent regarding both the risks and benefits of vaccines, to include full disclosure of ingredients, as well as the adverse effects of vaccines as reported to VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, established as the national safety surveillance program; and

WHEREAS, the Board respects the religious, moral, and ethical considerations of vaccines developed or manufactured using fetal cells from aborted infants, such as vaccines for chickenpox, rubella, hepatitis A, measles, mumps, rubella, and certain Covid-19 vaccines.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners respects the individual freedoms and parental rights of the people of Ottawa County to make choices regarding childhood vaccines; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Board recommends that Ottawa County promotion of vaccines for school and licensed childcare programs include full and accurate information regarding available exemptions and waivers from vaccine requirements; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Board recommends that vaccine waiver sessions include information on both the risks and the benefits of vaccines, a copy of vaccine package inserts, vaccine ingredients, and a link to VAERS data; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution shall be sent to Senators Mark Huizenga, Roger Victory, and Rick Outman, Representatives Nancy DeBoer, Luke Meerman, Brad Slagh, Rachelle Smit, and Greg VanWoerkom, and the Clerk of each county in the State of Michigan.

YEAS: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Jacob Bonnema, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss.
NAYS: Commissioners: Douglas Zylstra, Roger Bergman. ABSTENTIONS: Commissioners: None.

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Resolution to Protect Childhood Innocence

June 27, 2023

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 27th day of June, 2023 at 6:30 PM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Jacob Bonnema, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss, Roger Bergman.

It was moved by Commissioner Sylvia Rhodea and supported by Commissioner Allison Miedema that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, the future of Ottawa County relies on the health and well-being of its children and young people; and

WHEREAS, children are our greatest treasure and our most vulnerable population. We must always weigh the risk of harm to children in public policy decisions; and

WHEREAS, as Thomas Sowell expressed, “There are no perfect solutions, there are only tradeoffs,” and

WHEREAS, we value integrity and excellence and will not trade the innocence of children for other governmental goals: and

WHEREAS, protecting the innocence of children is an issue of concern for all adults; and

WHEREAS, adults and children are increasingly over-sexualized in our nation, state, and county; and

WHEREAS, Ottawa County has experienced an increase in criminal sexual assault cases, with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department investigating or reviewing 1050 criminal sexual conduct and child abuse cases in 2022, with 260 child victims referred to the Children’s Advocacy Center; and

WHEREAS, the exposure to and normalization of sexualized behaviors reduces children’s inhibitions and ability to protect themselves from the sexual advances of others; and

WHEREAS, children learn from observing and subsequently acting out the behaviors they have observed. Children who have observed sexualized behaviors or who have been the victim of sexual assault may act out with other children at home or school, which may lead to additional child victims; and

WHEREAS, the normalization of sexualized behaviors and content to children is not in the long-term interest of children or society. Wholesome, good, and honorable content and activities should be promoted to children instead. NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners is committed to protecting the innocence of children, and to cultivating healthy children, families, communities, and institutions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, no county staff or resources shall be allocated to activities, programs, events, content, or institutions which support, normalize, or encourage the sexualization of children and youth; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the Board encourages individuals and communities to promote the good and the honorable to children rather than the normalization of sexual behaviors, protecting the health and wellbeing of our children and the future of our county.

YEAS: Roger Belknap, Rebekah Curran, Gretchen Cosby, Jacob Bonnema, Sylvia Rhodea, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Lucy Ebel, Joe Moss.
NAYS: Douglas Zylstra and Roger Bergman. ABSTENTIONS: Commissioners: None.

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Constitutional County Resolution

May 23, 2023

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 23rd day of May, 2023 at 6:30 PM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Jacob Bonnema, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss. ABSENT: Commissioners: Roger Bergman.

It was moved by Commissioner Sylvia Rhodea and supported by Commissioner Allison Miedema that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners ("Board") swore an oath to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan, which protect the natural, God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitutions guarantee freedom of religion, speech, and assembly, the right to bear arms, due process of law, as well as provide other protections; and

WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, as part of the Bill of Rights, instructs that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"; and

WHEREAS, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to keep and bear arms, affirming that "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed"; and

WHEREAS, Article I, Section 6 of the Michigan Constitution (1963) provides that "Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state"; and

WHEREAS, the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "No person shall ... be deprived of Life, Liberty, or property, without due process of Law," and Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "...nor shall any State deprive any person of Life, Liberty, or property, without due process of Law"; and

WHEREAS, "The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects certain fundamental parental rights, including the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children, to direct the upbringing and education of their children, the right to make medical decisions on behalf of their children, and, in conjunction with the First Amendment, to guide the religious future and education of their children"; and

WHEREAS, constitutional freedoms are not suspended in times of crisis or everyday Life, at the whim of elected officials, unelected health officials, or for the benefit of government bureaucracy or private institutions; and

WHEREAS, the people of Ottawa County overwhelmingly spoke with their vote to restore and protect the constitutional rights of the people as a first priority of the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners, as reflected in the county's new vision statement of "Where Freedom Rings"; and

WHEREAS, the Board is resolved to preserve freedom and constitutional rights in our beautiful county for future generations of all who Live here; and

WHEREAS, a "Constitutional County" is a place of refuge for a Law-abiding citizen in regards to the citizens' rights under the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board declares Ottawa County, Michigan to be a "Constitutional County" and resolves to protect the individual freedoms of the people of Ottawa County, as outlined in the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan, to include freedom of speech, religion, and assembly, the right to keep and bear arms, and the right to due process; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board will not authorize or appropriate funds, resources, employees, agencies, contractors, buildings, or offices for the purpose of enforcing any statute, Law, rule, order or regulation that restricts the rights of any Law-abiding citizen affirmed by the United States Constitution, nor be used to aid any state or federal agency in infringing or restricting such rights; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board affirms its support for the Ottawa County Sheriff and the Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney acting in a constitutional manner and acknowledges and respects their respective oaths of office. The Board strongly encourages them to continuously act in a constitutional manner, as is consistent with their oath of office, and, in the exercise of their duties, not enforce any statute, Law, rule, order, or regulation that is contrary to the rights protected by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Michigan; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Board respectfully requests that the Michigan Legislature, the United States Congress, and other agencies of the State and Federal government vigilantly preserve and protect these rights by rejecting the passage of or revoking any provision, statute, Law, rule, order or regulation that may infringe, have potential to infringe, or place any additional burdens on the rights of Law-abiding citizens; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution shall be sent to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan Senators Mark Huizenga, Roger Victory, and Rick Outman, Michigan Representatives Nancy DeBoer, Luke Meerman, Brad Slagh, Rachelle Smit, and Greg VanWoerkom, U.S. Congressional Representatives Bill Huizenga, Hillary Scholten, and John Moolenaar, U.S. Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Kempker, and Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney Lee Fisher; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, a copy of this Resolution shall be sent to all Ottawa County department directors, to the Clerk of each county in the State of Michigan, the Michigan Senate, the Michigan House of Representatives, and the Michigan Association of Counties; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, a copy of this resolution shall be affixed to the wall of the board room of the Board as a promise to the people of Ottawa County and as a permanent reminder to elected officials and county employees that the constitutional rights of the people of Ottawa County shall be preserved and protected as the first priority.

YEAS: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Jacob Bonnema, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss.
NAYS: Commissioners: Douglas Zylstra. ABSTENTIONS: Commissioners: None.

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Heroes of Freedom Resolution

May 23, 2023

At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the County of Ottawa, Michigan, held at the Fillmore Street Complex in the Township of Olive, Michigan on the 23rd day of May, 2023 at 6:30 PM local time.

PRESENT: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Douglas Zylstra, Jacob Bonnema, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss. ABSENT: Commissioners: Roger Bergman.

It was moved by Commissioner Allison Miedema and supported by Commissioner Sylvia Rhodea that the following Resolution be adopted:

WHEREAS, America is an exceptional nation made up of a beautiful people, who share a history of triumph over adversity; our freedom won through the sacrifice and blood of patriots, and our nation built on the strength of America’s founding documents; and

WHEREAS, the Constitution of the United States and our brave men and women have boldly protected the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for nearly 250 years; and

WHEREAS, we stand in remembrance of those who fought and died to defend and protect us, so that we can all live in freedom, and we are forever indebted to these men and women who demonstrated the greatest love for our country and grieve with their families; and

WHEREAS, we recognize and honor the service, sacrifices, and contributions of veterans and military families for what they have done and what they continue to do every day to support our great nation; and

WHEREAS, we pay tribute to the next generation of Ottawa County citizens who serve in the United States Armed Forces— the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, and Coast Guard, and they continue a legacy of unyielding patriotism, and represent the best of America; and

WHEREAS, as Ronald Reagan expressed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free;” and

WHEREAS, the people of Ottawa County have a deep love for America, and we are a people jealous for liberty, which is essential for protecting our communities and nation; and

WHEREAS, as reminded by John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them”;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, we honor the fallen, thank our veterans, and the men and women currently serving in the armed forces for their sacrifice and service to our great nation from the time of America’s birth and into the future, and we are indebted to America’s heroes of freedom; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we join the contagious spirit of those who have dedicated and given their lives for freedom; and

BE IF FURTHER RESOLVED, at this moment of national importance, we commit to the defense of the rights and virtues of our nation and its founding, preserving freedom and hope for future generations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a copy of this Resolution be sent to Michigan Senators Mark Huizenga, Roger Victory, and Rick Outman, Michigan Representatives Nancy DeBoer, Luke Meerman, Brad Slagh, Rachelle Smit, and Greg VanWoerkom, to the Clerk of each county in the State of Michigan, and all Ottawa County department directors.

YEAS: Commissioners: Gretchen Cosby, Jacob Bonnema, Kyle Terpstra, Allison Miedema, Rebekah Curran, Lucy Ebel, Roger Belknap, Sylvia Rhodea, Joe Moss, Douglas Zylstra.
NAYS: Commissioners: None. ABSTENTIONS: Commissioners: None.

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