JONESBORO — An effort to declare Craighead a pro-life county went nowhere Monday when the quorum court’s public service committee considered the measure.
A second resolution, “supporting healthcare freedoms and choices regarding vaccine mandates,” died for lack of a motion.
Justice of the Peace Darrel Cook sponsored both proposed resolutions, but is not a member of the committee and therefore could not vote.
The two resolutions were almost identical to resolutions council member Bobby Long wanted the Jonesboro City Council to approve. However, both proposals died for lack of a second during a public services committee meeting.
Because of the lack of a second, Long was unable to advocate for his resolutions.
He was allowed to speak during Monday’s public comment period prior to the quorum court committee meeting.
“If a litmus test of whether you vote or even allow a vote on a particular item is disagreement or the perception of divisiveness, then there would never be a vote on anything,” Long said. “Whether you agree or disagree, the level of support that’s been expressed, along with the experiential evidence that Craighead as a whole holds the views of this resolution affirms that it should be ratified. I hope that you are not distracted by the attempts of those who would make it something that it is not.”
But resident Roseann Askeland said divisiveness is what the resolutions promote.
“I think everyone in this room supports life. Without any issue, I think we know that,” Askeland said. “But I don’t want this court to become a partisan vote, and I believe that what Mr. Long just gave us would create that partisan vote … And I don’t think we all want to be lumped into one thing, one way or the other. And I believe it will lead to divisiveness.”
Askeland said county officials have more important things to consider other than whether to put up pro-life signs.
“I wish that we would spend more time on the issue of improving the lives in the county, the people that are here,” Askeland said.
Before the committee decided the fate of the resolution aimed at fighting President Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate, County Judge Marvin Day was asked if Biden’s order even affects county government.
“From my understanding, President Biden was trying to make this mandate through OSHA, a regulation of OSHA,” Day replied, referring to the federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration. “Craighead County, as a vehicle under the state of Arkansas, we do not apply under OSHA regulations. We are under the state workforce. So I don’t think we do.”
With that answer, the COVID resolution died without a motion.