Our Board would like to send a heartfelt thanks to our members Sarah, Maryann and Jacob who attended last night’s Clay County Board of County Commissioners meeting.
Although the Commissioners voted to enact their Ordinance, which included a doubling of the residency restriction, Halloween restrictions and a fee for any registrations, the reality is by them showing up to the meeting we accomplished a lot!
First, it put on the record (these meetings are recorded and are public record) the commission’s motivation for passing this amended ordinance, including the unbelievable misinformation that went into it’s passage. It also put on record that there was opposition to it’s passage. Had nobody showed up to present an opposing point of view there would have been no discussion on the topic and none of this would have been documented. Although all this seems useless when it came to dissuading the commission, it will become very useful in litigation.
Second, it educated the commission – as we told Sarah, trying to stop this ordinance this late in the game is like trying to stop a fast moving train. This thing was going to pass regardless. What Sarah and Maryann did was plant a seed in the commission’s mind that maybe this wasn’t the right thing to do. That seed can continue to be nurtured by remaining in contact with the commissioners and continuing to share information.
Finally, Sarah and Maryann proved to themselves and to others that they are strong and capable enough to show up and speak out. The strides that Sarah has made (with respect to courage and knowledge) during the past few months have been incredible. Imagine how strong our movement could be if we all were as brave and dedicated as Sarah and Maryann (and Jacob for supporting).
So what next? FAC will send a “shame on you” letter to the Commission, which may or may not be read and the ordinance goes into the pile of ill-informed, ineffective and punitive laws that were passed without any insight into the scientific research. That pile will be used by the attorney in the Ex Post Facto Plus challenge. One day, after Clay realizes the unintended consequences of their ordinance or in the face of a lawsuit, they may roll it back.
We’ve also learned. We learned how important it is to be proactive and set up teams in each county to monitor the legislation and start advocating against bad laws early on so we don’t show up after it’s pretty much already decided on. If you are not active, call membership to find out who your county or regional coordinator is and become active NOW! No excuses!
Most importantly, we learned that we have rock star advocates who know their stuff better then the Sheriff’s office or the County Attorney! We all need to strive to be as brave as they were last night.