The Commissioners Room at the Lincoln County Courthouse filled nearly to capacity as constituents came to support action by the County Board on two resolutions.
The first was a resolution designating Lincoln County as a “Second Amendment sanctuary,” also known as a gun sanctuary. The second was a resolution opposing President Joe Biden’s executive order No. 14008, section 216, that directs federal officials to develop a program to conserve at least 30% of the lands and waters in the United States by 2030.
Board Chairman Kent Weems said after the meeting that the commissioners have heard from numerous constituents concerned about a trend of the executive branch in Washington, D.C., seeking to usurp constitutional restrictions on power.
“I’m not the Lone Ranger in this regard,” Weems said. “The one that threw a red flag for me was the proposal to study basically stacking the Supreme Court.”
Weems said the role of the judiciary to set limits on the other two branches of government was set in the 1803 Supreme Court case Marbury v. Madison.
“Although it was not initially the intent, but it evolved (for the judiciary) to basically tell (Congress and the executive branch) when they were out of bounds and they’ve violated our constitutional rights,” Weems said, “from that day on, the Supreme Court’s been the key element to preserve our rights, no matter what they are.”
Weems said Sheriff Jerome Kramer agreed with the board that “no infringement on the Second Amendment is OK in his world.”
Deputy County Attorney Tyler Volkmer worked with Kramer to make sure everybody was on the same page with the language of the resolution, Weems said.
“Even though it’s symbolic and the buck stops with the Supreme Court, we still want to go on record,” Weems said. “We encourage other municipalities, town boards, village boards to also consider adopting such a resolution to let Washington know we take this very seriously.”
The board also unanimously passed the resolution opposing the executive order known as “30 by 30.”
“Why would you take control of private property where the best steward of that property is the person who has to make a living off of it,” Weems said. “They don’t abuse that land — they preserve it, they provide erosion control, they put shelter belts in place to provide that erosion control.”
Commissioner Jerry Woodruff agreed with Weems’ assessment.
“I spent my career working with people that own this land, and they do a much better job in taking care of the land and stewardship of sustaining their operations,” Woodruff said. “They do a much better job of looking after the natural resources than any government agency ever thought of doing.”
Commissioner Bill Henry brought up the oft-referenced Nebraska Cooperative Republican Platte Enhancement Project.
“We’ve seen a fine example just south of here on 20,000 acres of the quality work the government does on land,” Henry said. To think the government wants to take over more land, “that just sends chills up my spine.”
Commissioner Joe Hewgley said he found the wording in the executive order interesting.
“I see ladies in the audience, so I’m not going to say what I really think about this,” Hewgley said.
He summarized a portion of the executive order: “Executive order 14008 directs the secretary of the interior, in consultation with other relevant federal agencies, to ‘submit a report to the task force within 90 days of the date of this order recommending steps the United States should take.’”
“I emphasize the word ‘take,’ because that’s really what this is,” Hewgley said.
Weems said both resolutions were basically symbolic, but important.
“I don’t really see we have the authority to usurp federal government when it comes to the (constitutional) amendments,” Weems said. “We are at the mercy of the courts, but it’s always a good thing to let Washington know there’s a dissenting voice out there. We’re taking a stand.”
He also encouraged other municipalities and village boards to pass resolutions as well.
“I think it’s just a matter of this flyover country is maybe insignificant to Washington, but it’s full of commonsense people,” Weems said. “You can’t pull the wool over our eyes. We know what’s going on as far as erosion of our individual rights.”
He said both issues addressed at Monday’s meeting are key efforts by the government to erode those rights.
“That’s the way we see it,” Weems said.
In other action, the commissioners:
» Approved the appointment of Brandon Myers, Region 51 executive director, to the Community Wildfire Protection Plan steering committee.
» Authorized the chairman to sign a right-of-way permit submitted by Mid States Power LLC.
» Authorized the chairman to sign a right-of-way permit submitted by Hershey Cooperative Telephone Co.
» Approved the application by George and Janice Hailey for the Hailey Administrative Subdivision at 5502 N. Wagon Trail Road.
» Set 9:45 a.m., May 3 to accept bids on a used water truck for the Lincoln County Department of Roads.
The commissioners also discussed opening up the county’s property/casualty/liability insurance coverage to bid. Larry Stubbs and Jerilyn Kates, representing Rosenberg Insurance Inc., spoke to the board about the process and explained the time frame involved.
Rosenberg has provided the coverage for many years and all the commissioners indicated there was not a problem with the coverage provided or the company.
Commissioner Chris Bruns brought the discussion to the table because the county’s insurance had not been let to bid since 2008. The board will appoint a committee to look into the process and determine the best action to take.
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