Commission votes against ‘Bill of Rights sanctuary’ in Collier County

Public comment at the Collier County Board of County Commissioners meeting Tuesday was heated over the discussion to make the county a “Bill of Rights sanctuary county.”

More than 100 people appeared at the meeting to debate what some call a renewed push to protect the rights and freedoms of Americans.

Commissioners ended up voting 3-2 against making a sanctuary county ordinance but decided to make it a resolution. The ordinance would make the “Bill of Rights sanctuary county” law, while the resolution is the formal expression of an opinion from elected officials. The final factor for the vote by commissioners came down to there being too much unknown in the proposed ordinance.

“This could affect our voting rights,” said Janet Hoffman, the co-president of the League of Women Voters of Collier County. “It could easily affect our intra and interstate commerce.”

People indicated the idea behind this proposal is a political move, but James Rosenberger, who started this movement, claims it’s bipartisan. He told us his hope is to protect everybody’s civil rights regardless of political party.

“It’s time that we stand up and take our country back,” Rosenberger said.

But comments many made did focus on politics, and some ideas brought up in relation to the proposal included cancel culture, court packing and evolution. One commenter mentioned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I just want to keep Collier County red, safe, conservative, Republican and safe for our children,” Victoria Redstall told WINK News.

The meeting was filled with American flags and passion on both opposing sides of the ordinance. At one point during the meeting, there was a prayer circle.

The debate started when Rosenberger and his wife, Carol DiPaolo, started a petition in March to make Collier County a sanctuary for the Second Amendment. That movement has grown to the full Bill of Rights.

Many agree with Rosenberger’s effort, but others who spoke at the meeting called this proposal unnecessary and a cause for confusion.

“We have a system well-developed to deal with grievances, and this is not following that system,” Hoffman said.

In total, 117 people were expected to comment on the issue before Tuesday’s meeting ended. Each commenter was given three minutes to speak.

The ordinance is not criminal. If it had been passed, Collier leaders found to be in violation would find themselves entrenched in lawsuits, not in jail.

“We need an ordinance,” DiPaolo said. “We need to have a law. We need to have something that has penalties. That if you go against our constitutional rights, and if you go against the 10 amendments, that there’s going to be repercussions, so that’s what we need right now because that’s what’s going to be threatened from the federal government.”

Reporter:Gail Levy
Rachel Cox-Rosen
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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