CLARK COUNTY — To the cheers of a group of residents attending the meeting, the Clark County Commissioners approved a resolution Thursday prohibiting the requirement of so-called immunization passports for public employees or patrons entering government buildings.
Portions of the measure closely follow House Enrolled Act 1405, passed this year by the Indiana legislature, which prohibits state government entities from issuing or requiring a COVID-19 immunization passport.
The resolution declares “Clark County government will not require immunization passports for its employees or patrons to enter Clark County government buildings, and supports Clark County businesses to likewise not require immunization passports.”
But as County Attorney R. Scott Lewis pointed out, the portions of the resolution regarding private business are non-binding as government doesn’t control their operations on this issue.
“We technically don’t have that power,” Lewis told one of the residents who questioned the language of the resolution. “We can only encourage them.”
The resolution states the commissioners “recognize concerns immunization passports could create, including concerns associated with civil liberties, personal health information, religious freedom, and possible discrimination of protected classes of individuals.”
Multiple Clark County residents requested last month that the commissioners adopt a resolution concerning immunization passports. The primary consideration of such passports has been in travel, with the European Union weighing whether to require proof of immunizations from travelers.
The commissioners’ resolution only affects Clark County government, as schools and municipalities are autonomous units.
Jeffersonville resident Kaitlin Blessitt attended Thursday’s meeting and said she was encouraged by the commissioners’ action.
“I think it’s important that we take every possible avenue that we can to protect our civil liberties in our republic in whatever small or large way that we can. So even though the resolution doesn’t hold the full weight of law, it’s a stance and it’s important,” she said.
The resolution was approved 2-0 without discussion from commissioners Jack Coffman and Connie Sellers. Commissioner Bryan Glover was absent from the meeting.
Also Thursday, the commissioners agreed to partner with multiple entities to foot a sewer service feasibility study for the Starlight community.
Clark County is committing $15,000 toward the study, and that amount is being matched by Borden. The Starlight Visitors Association is the main backer of the study, committing $45,000. SoIN Tourism has pledged $15,000 for the effort.
The commissioners also approved a measure allowing the River Ridge Development Authority to refinance some of its bonds. The authority is responsible for paying off the bonds and Clark County isn’t on the hook if for some reason there was a default, but state statute requires commissioners to OK the refinancing.
Those bonds were used to foot infrastructure installation and improvements at River Ridge Commerce Center. Jerry Acy, executive director of the River Ridge Development Authority, said most of the attention has now turned to the Charlestown portion of the commerce park.
He estimated another $200 million in infrastructure work will be required as the park continues to see businesses and industries move to River Ridge.