Lawmakers request investigation into Pima County’s new restaurant regulations

Lawmakers request investigation into Pima County’s new restaurant regulations
Pima County Board of Supervisors turns suggestions into regulations.

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Lawmakers submitted a request to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, asking for an investigation of new restaurant regulations passed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday.

“We’ve seen throughout this crisis how important it is to balance health concerns with the need to reopen business and get Arizonans back to work,” said Sen. Vince Leach, District 11. “Gov. Ducey and the Legislature have been working with experts to find that balance and determine the best course of action for the entire state. It is unfortunate that Pima County is taking actions that are not consistent with the state. The cumbersome regulations in its Proclamation will not facilitate an easy reopening for businesses."

Gov. Ducey issued a series of guidelines for reopening. The county said it just made them more specific.

The county created a list of 17 suggestions for reopening restaurants and other businesses. On Wednesday, by a 3-2 vote along party lines, the county codified those regulations on a temporary basis, making them mandatory and punishable by fines if they are violated.

The first two violations will come with education and a warning. A third violation can come with a $500 fine.

“There are certainly areas in which cities and counties can legislate, but if the state has legislated in a certain area, a city or county cannot legislate in a way that would be in direct conflict with that,” said Shefali Milczarek-Desai, an assistant clinical professor at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law.

Sen. Vince Leach, Rep. Mark Finchem and Rep. Bret Roberts, all from District 11, said Pima County’s Proclamation appears to violate A.R.S. 26-307, which forbids counties, cities, and towns from making rules and regulations inconsistent with those issued by the governor.

“The governor’s latest Executive Order has precautions designed to protect patrons, while giving businesses the freedom to restart and rebuild their lives and the lives of their employees. The decision by three supervisors to ignore the governor’s clear directive not to exceed State standards is by definition a violation of law,” said Representative Finchem.

Ducey’s office said it is also reviewing the board vote.

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