CAMDEN COUNTY, Mo. — Elected officials in Camden County—the most populous county in the Lake of the Ozarks region—are calling President Biden's announcement of vaccine mandates an "overreach," and they're emphasizing the county's preference toward individual freedom.
County commissioners say they held an emergency closed session meeting of the on Sept. 10, the morning after Biden's announcement. There were no votes taken in the closed session. "However," Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty said, "the commission is looking into the legal course and direction we are going to take regarding this administrative overreach of the executive branch of Federal Government."
The county commission issued the following press release on Sept. 10:
The Camden County Commission met this morning in executive session to discuss the potential ramifications of the Presidential covid vaccine mandates announced by Washington on Thursday, September 9, 2021.
The president announced vaccination requirements for health care providers that accept Medicare and Medicaid, for all federal employees and contractors and for the staffs of Head Start programs, Department of Defense Schools and Bureau of Indian Education-operated schools. All members of the Armed Forces are required to get vaccinated.
Regarding the private sector and the public, The Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing a rule requiring all employers with at least 100 employees to make sure their workforce is fully vaccinated or require unvaccinated workers to get a negative test at least once a week. OSHA will issue an “Emergency Temporary Standard” to introduce the vaccine requirement. Companies that fail to comply could face fines of $14,000 per violation. It appears the orders may include exceptions for workers seeking religious or medical exemptions from vaccination. The new vaccination requirements could apply to as many as 100 million Americans -- close to two-thirds of the American workforce.
In addition to the vaccination requirements, President Biden moved to double federal fines for airline passengers who refuse to wear masks on flights or to maintain face-covering requirements on federal property.
Many organizations across the nation have already announced their concerns in relation to the President’s announcement. The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, is taking issue with the mandatory vaccine requirement. Further, the Republican National Committee announced that it plans to file a lawsuit against the Biden administration regarding the new vaccine requirements. Across the nation, Governors of many states have announced that they also take issue with new mandates.
The Camden County Commissioners are united in their concerns about the new federal vaccine mandates. Early this year, on January 28th, 2021, the Commission voted to rescind a prior ordinance (Ordinance 1-14-21-01) requiring food industry workers to get a hepatitis A vaccination, leaving that decision to employers. The same day, the Commission passed an ordinance (Ordinance 01-28-21-01) recognizing and reasserting several God-given rights possessed by all Americans; including:
“6. The citizens of Camden County are aware of their own underlying health risk factors better than the government and can reject any unduly forced vaccinations; and
7. That unless required by law, individuals have the right to refuse directives or recommendations to take any drugs or medications for the prevention or treatment of any condition, illness or disease and
10. A state of emergency that operates in perpetuity can be considered by some a state of tyranny”
Similarly, unlike a large number of counties across the United States, the Camden County Commission has refused to pass any ordinance requiring face masks in schools, public places or places of employment, being of the opinion that this would represent an over-reach of government authority.