By State Representative E. Werner Reschke,
On Friday, the Governor issued new mandates for a two week “freeze” from November 18th through December 2nd, claiming concerns about rising COVID cases in Oregon.
The following mandates were issued:
▪ Limiting social get-togethers (indoors and outdoors) to no more than six people, total, from no more than two households.
▪ Limiting churches and other faith-based venues to a maximum of 25 people indoors or 50 people outdoors.
▪ Limiting restaurants to take-out only.
▪ Closing gyms and fitness organizations.
▪ Closing indoor recreational facilities, museums, indoor entertainment activities, and indoor pools and sports courts.
▪ Closing outdoor recreational facilities, zoos, gardens, aquariums, outdoor entertainment activities, and outdoor pools.
▪ Limiting grocery stores and pharmacies to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick up.
▪ Limiting retail stores and retail malls (indoor and outdoor) to a maximum of 75% capacity and encouraging curbside pick up.
▪ Closing venues (that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events).
▪ Requiring all businesses to mandate work-from-home to the greatest extent possible and closing offices to the public.
▪ Prohibiting indoor visiting in long-term care facilities.
According to The Oregonian on Saturday, “The governor warned that violations are misdemeanors punishable by citation or arrest, and Brown said she would work with state police and local law enforcement to encourage Oregonians to comply with her directive.”
It is important to note that many of her orders are unconstitutional from both a Federal and State perspective. It does not matter what her reasons are, what she claims, or what statues she may cite. Thankfully, Oregonians are protected by our US and State Constitutions as stated below:
U.S. Constitution, Fourth Amendment
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Oregon Constitution, Section 9
“Unreasonable searches or seizures. No law shall violate the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search, or seizure; and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath, or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.”
Oregon Constitution, Section 22
“Suspension of operation of laws. The operation of the laws shall never be suspended, except by the Authority of the Legislative Assembly.”
Oregon Constitution, Section 30
“Emigration. No law shall be passed prohibiting emigration from the State.”
Plain reading of the U.S. and State Constitution show the Governor’s mandates are an unconstitutional overreach. There are many more constitutional provisions being violated by the Governor’s mandates — from concerns about religious freedom to operating a business.
In this great nation we all have certain unalienable rights — many which are documented in our constitutions and their amendments. No person or government authority is above the Constitution. Our rights may not be taken away or suspended without proper constitutional authority, nor can our rights be taken away by a Governor who may think she is the highest authority in the State.
As we prepare to gather for Thanksgiving holiday, let us remain grateful for this time with family and friends. Let us stand firm and confident in our God-given rights as Oregonians and Americans.
E. Werner Reschke