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July 3, 2022

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Clark County councilors may hold ‘In God We Trust’ vote Wednesday

Public comment on posting the motto was heard last week

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• Previously: The Clark County council failed last week to bring a resolution posting “In God We Trust” in the public hearing room to a vote due to lack of a second.


• What’s new:
Councilors Tom Mielke and David Madore said Tuesday that council is continuing to discuss the proposal.


• What’s next:
The council will discuss posting the national motto in its public hearing room at its Wednesday board time, and it could vote to move forward with the display.

The Clark County council could vote to display “In God We Trust” in its public hearing room during a board time session on Wednesday rather than during a public hearing, Councilor Tom Mielke said at the council’s hearing on Tuesday.

Despite the council’s failure last week to bring the idea to a vote, the council has continued to discuss options for posting the phrase — as well as excerpts from the Declaration of Independence and the Washington state Constitution — somewhere in the hearing room.

• Previously: The Clark County council failed last week to bring a resolution posting "In God We Trust" in the public hearing room to a vote due to lack of a second.

• What's new: Councilors Tom Mielke and David Madore said Tuesday that council is continuing to discuss the proposal.

• What's next: The council will discuss posting the national motto in its public hearing room at its Wednesday board time, and it could vote to move forward with the display.

Mielke, who pitched the idea about a month ago and whose motion to bring it about died without a second last week, reminded the council and audience at Tuesday’s meeting that because the board had already brought the issue to a hearing and listened to public comment, it could pass a resolution during its Wednesday board time meetings.

Acting County Manager Mark McCauley confirmed that the council could vote on the issue during board time. Board time is open to the public, but it is usually the council’s time to discuss upcoming business with staff.

“Occasionally, decisions are made there,” McCauley said. “The best place for decisions is usually the consent hearing where things are noticed and people know in advance what we’re going to do.” In such a context, “noticed” means “previously announced in a public notice.”

The proposal drew dozens of community members to the council’s Feb. 10 meeting, prompting more than two hours of public comment. The majority of people opposed posting “In God We Trust,” saying it would be divisive to those who are not religious.

Though the issue was not on the council’s agenda Tuesday, about a dozen more people spoke for and against the proposal during public comments. Several familiar faces, including Josephine Wentzel of the Campaign for Christ, were at the meeting. As she did last week, Wentzel encouraged the board to post “In God We Trust” somewhere in the main hearing room.

“It’s in the works,” Councilor David Madore told Wentzel.

Madore said Tuesday morning that the issue was on the council’s board time agenda for Wednesday, though an updated agenda with the item was not added to the county’s website until about 3:50 p.m., after The Columbian contacted McCauley for clarification.

The council’s weekly board meeting is at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in Conference Room B on the sixth floor of the Clark County Public Service Center.

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