(The Center Square) – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Tuesday that the city of Tucson’s COVID-19 vaccine warrant violates state law. The attorney general’s office is giving the city 30 days to change or reverse the order before losing millions of dollars in public funding.
According to the AGO press release, the policy violates Senate Bill 1487 and Governor Doug Ducey’s Order in Council of August 17, which enforced state law against city and county governments requiring their employees that they are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in response to Tucson’s vaccine mandate.
“We encourage all residents of Arizona to get the vaccine – it’s safe, effective and free,” Brnovich said in a press release about the order. “But getting it is a personal choice, and we will not allow discrimination based on immunization status.”
On August 13, Tucson city council voted to require city employees to show proof of at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by August 24. Employees who fail to meet the deadline are subject to a five-day suspension without pay. .
“Tucson’s vaccine mandate is illegal and the city could be held responsible for attempting to force employees to take it against their beliefs,” Brnovich said in the press release. “Vaccination against COVID-19 should be a choice, not a government mandate. “
If Tucson does not reverse its policy, the AGO will notify the Arizona treasurer to withhold the city’s share of state-shared revenue until the city complies with state law. In addition, the city could face liability claims from employees, the statement said.
In response, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said he was “deeply unhappy” that Brnovich was prioritizing “his political ambitions above the law”.
“This report reads more like a campaign speech filled with political commentary than a factual legal opinion,” she said in a statement. “We are currently reviewing our options, and the mayor and council will need to provide direction on how we will proceed from here.”
Tucson attorney Mike Rankin said the law the vaccine warrant allegedly violated would not come into effect until September 29.
City manager Michael Ortega has defended the validity of the vaccine policy, but said the city will suspend implementation indefinitely.
“Until we have a better understanding of our legal position on today’s report, I have asked staff to take a break from implementing the policy,” he said. declared.