Court pushes back on fed vax orders

Commissioners issue resolution strongly opposing Biden's COVID-19 mandate

Bill Spinks
Waxahachie Daily Light
The Ellis County Historic Courthouse in Waxahachie.

Ellis County Commissioners reacted against last week’s presidential declarations regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements with a strongly-worded resolution during their regular bi-weekly meeting on Tuesday.

The court’s unanimous resolution opposes any vaccine mandates on individuals proposed by any government, and opposes the use of county resources to enforce any government mandates regarding COVID-19 vaccination or treatment. The Biden administration’s recently proposed executive order would enforce, according to the resolution, "a de facto national vaccine mandate through regulation by the U.S. Department of Labor."

The resolution also demands that the federal government withdraw and such proposals, and requests the state of Texas to “employ all necessary measures to protect our fellow citizens from federal attempts to harass, bully, or threaten the employment of any Texan who does not wish to undergo a certain medical treatment.”

At least half a dozen citizens also made public comments during the meeting, all in favor of the resolution.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Paul Perry, who contributed a good portion of the language in the resolution, made the motion and County Judge Todd Little, who had placed this item on the day’s agenda and whose office crafted the final resolution, seconded.

 “The Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate is both unconstitutional and un-American,” Little said. “The choice of whether to undergo a medical treatment is strictly between an individual and his or her doctor. The Federal Government has no constitutional authority to deprive Americans of the right to earn a living just because they do not want a vaccine or medical treatment. This mandate could become a ‘slippery slope’ to all Americans and any of their constitutional rights.”

The judge noted that a county-operated vaccine hub at the Waxahachie Senior Center immunized approximately 80,000 Ellis County residents voluntarily. According to the resolution, this vaccination effort should not be construed as to suggest that Ellis County or the state have any plans in place to revoke the “civilized precondition of consent and force medical treatments on individuals under the threat of losing their livelihood.”

This resolution was also presented at Tuesday evening’s meeting of the Midlothian City Council. The council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the county resolution.

In a separate pandemic-related agenda item, commissioners on Tuesday approved the reinstatement of a previous COVID exposure and illness policy for county employees, effective immediately.

Each employee will be allowed up to 80 hours of paid sick leave due to a positive COVID test or exposure. A subsequent negative test or a physician’s statement allowing return to work must be submitted.

In addition, an interlocal agreement with the city of Ferris was approved and a subsequent agreement was approved with MDLab, LLC for a regional monoclonal antibody infusion center located at the Ferris Scout House.

The infusion center will be operational for two months at a total cost of $360,000, with costs and expenses to be split 50-50 between Ferris and the county. The county will use federal American Rescue Plan funds to pay for its share.

Other items

• The approved consent agenda consisted of previous meeting minutes, acceptance of various reports, an amendment to a Texas Emissions Reduction Incentive Grant Program contract at no additional cost to the county, and several budgetary line-item transfers.

• The list of commissioners’ meeting dates for fiscal year 2021-2022 was pulled from the consent agenda at the request of Perry and approved separately. Perry objected to having weekly budgetary meetings in August that don’t correlate with county payroll, and recommended scheduling three dates in September instead.

• An order was amended designating the Waxahachie Civic Center as an auxiliary courthouse through the end of the 2022 calendar year. A lease agreement with the Civic Center was extended in a related item for a fee of $1,000 per jury day, for two to three days per month using federal ARP funds. County Court at Law Judge Jim Chapman said the Civic Center has been perfect for jury selections, but that eventually a common jury room will be needed at the county courts building.

• A memorandum of understanding was approved with the Cowboy Church of Ellis County regarding assistance and service to victims of disaster, to include companion animals, as well as other services. A similar MOU was reached with Texas A&M Veterinary Services at a previous meeting.

• Following an executive session to discuss real estate matters, commissioners took no public action.