AG calls Tucson COVID-19 vaccine mandate illegal
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Attorney General Mark Brnovich said on on Tuesday, Sept. 7, that Tucson faces losing millions of dollars in state funding unless it rescinds or amends the ordinance mandating COVID-19 vaccines for public employees.
Brnovich announced that his office has determined the violates state law, and is in direct conflict with Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Order 2021-18.
“Tucson’s vaccine mandate is illegal and the city could be held liable for attempting to force government employees to take it against their beliefs,” Brnovich said.
Through an “S.B. 1487” investigation, the AGO determined Tucson’s Ordinance 11869, which mandates COVID-19 vaccines for city employees, violates state law and thus the city cannot require public employees to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine. The governorissued Executive Order 2021-18 in August. In the opinion of the Attorney General’s Office, Tucson public employees could rely in good faith on E.O. 2021-18 and state law to refuse the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
The AGO officially notified the city of Tucson on Tuesday that its COVID-19 vaccine ordinance is in violation of state law and must be rescinded or amended. If the city does not rescind its policy within the next 30 days, the AGO said the Arizona State Treasurer will withhold the city’s portion of state-shared revenue until the city comes into compliance.
S.B. 1824 is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 29.
Additionally, the AGO believes the city of Tucson could be subject to potential liability claims if it were to take adverse action against an employee who relies on E.O. 2021-18 and state law to refuse the vaccine.
Tucson’s ordinance requires employees to either get the COVID-19 vaccine or face a five-day suspension without pay.
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