Oroville Declares Itself a “Constitutional Republic” Free of Mandates

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Oroville has been a den of COVID defiance. The small town at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada made headlines when it bucked state prohibitions on indoor dining last year. Today, the County of Butte where Oroville is located has a vaccination rate under 50%.

Like many rural, conservative areas, Oroville feels unfairly constrained by a heavily democratic government in Sacramento. In the wake of the failed recall attempt against Gavin Newsom, city leaders have let out a primal scream — a resolution declaring Oroville a “constitutional republic” free from federal and state COVID restrictions.

The resolution means absolutely nothing. Except that Oroville is really, really ticked off.

“A municipality cannot unilaterally declare itself not subject to the laws of the state of California,” rural law expert Lisa Pruitt told The Guardian. “Whatever they mean by constitutional republic you can’t say hocus pocus and make it happen.”

Even one of the members who voted for the resolution admitted it has “no teeth.”

What the resolution does do is underscore the growing red-blue, rural-urban divide and some of the fury surrounding vaccine mandates. Vice Mayor Scott Thomson, who proposed the resolution, said the final straw was Newsom “going after our kids and schools.”

“Our founders understood the dangers of those who would like to have more control over the people, and thus they set up our country with a firm foundation that separated the powers, by forming a Republic, and protected our God-given rights, in the founding documents in the US Constitution,” he told KRCR. “ America is already a Constitutional Republic, however, I put this declaration out for the agenda as a reminder and a statement that we the people in Oroville are not amicable to the tyranny of power-hungry politicians.”

A single council member, Krysi Riggs, opposed the resolution. The final vote was 6-1.


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