The City of Phoenix announced Thursday that it would increase its funding to protect urban farmland from development projects.
“We are very excited that this Program will receive double the funding this year to conserve more vital urban farms within Phoenix,” said Rosanne Albright, Environmental Programs Coordinator for the City of Phoenix.
Phoenix City Manager Jeff Barton Announced Monday that Nicole Dupuis-Witt would become the City’s first Public Health Advisor on the leadership team beginning October 17.
“The addition of public health expertise to our leadership team strengthens our ability to address public health needs across the City,” said Barton. “Public health is a central tenant to many of the City’s top priorities including heat response and mitigation, housing and homelessness, food systems, senior services, transportation and more. I am confident that Nicole’s experience and data-driven approach will further position Phoenix as a resilient and prosperous place to live, work and play.”
State Rep. Steve Kaiser (R-Phoenix) is sponsoring a bill, HB 2020, that would exempt people in Arizona from government or private businesses imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates if they have already had COVID-19. This includes mandates from the federal government and from corporations at their branches in Arizona. To be eligible, someone must show either proof of antibodies, a positive test, or a positive T-cell immune response to COVID-19.
Kaiser, who came up with the idea for the bill during a discussion with a friend, told The Arizona Sun Times, “It provides a great way for folks who are uncomfortable with the vaccine to keep their jobs. There is a lot of data to support this, and it has a great chance of passing through the legislature.” He said at least one Democrat has said they may support the bill.
The City of Phoenix instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for employees, and numerous Republican lawmakers want to stop it. Several legislators sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey demanding that he call a special session of the Arizona Legislature so they can pass legislation halting that mandate and any others in Arizona.
Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), and Rep. Justin Wilmeth (R-Phoenix) wrote, “We urge you to immediately call us into a special session to pass legislation prohibiting any government entity from mandating the COVID-19 vaccine. Since the Arizona Supreme Court struck down policy provisions added to the budget passed earlier this year as a violation of our state Constitution’s single subject clause, it is imperative we address medical freedom issues taking place in our K-12 public schools, public colleges and universities, and any city, county or town from imposing a vaccine passport or mandate on any person or business.”
During a press conference announcing his lawsuit with police officers and firefighters against the City of Phoenix over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was asked by Arizona’s Family political editor Dennis Welch whether he was vaccinated. His press secretary waved the question off as “inappropriate.”
However, Brnovich, who is running for U.S. Senate, responded, “Do you have an STD?” After a brief pause with some laughter from those present, he went on, “It’s not a ridiculous question. The question should be, once you allow or cede this authority to the federal government, where does it stop? And my own health information is my own health information.”
Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is requesting a meeting and vote on the City of Phoenix’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate. In a letter sent to the mayor and other members of the city council on November 22, he expressed concerns over public safety, employee retention, and whether the Biden’s administration mandate even applies.
“This decision will compromise vital citywide services to our residents, including public safety, which this Council has been aware of the alarming crime data and how the city is struggling to hire and retain personnel,” he wrote. “A more thorough determination needs to be made on whether, under federal law, the City of Phoenix and its 13,000 employees are considered ‘federal contractors’ for the purposes of this mandate,” he wrote.
The City of Tucson is joining two lawsuits against the Arizona Legislature with amicus curiae briefs. The first is a lawsuit filed on August 12 by the Arizona School Boards Association, the Arizona Education Association and other education organizations and activists over HB 2898, SB 1824, and SB 1825, which prohibit mask and vaccine mandates, ban Critical Race Theory, and establish a legislative committee to review the findings of the state Senate review of the November 2020 election results in Maricopa County.
The second is a lawsuit filed by the City of Phoenix over HB 2893, which sets the qualifications for members of civilian review boards including requiring training. It also allows a legislator to submit a request to the Arizona Attorney General for an investigation of “any written policy, written rule or written regulation adopted by any agency, department or other entity of the county, city or town.”
The City of Phoenix filed a lawsuit against the State of Arizona on Tuesday, contending that new legislation regulating police review boards and expanding the Attorney General’s powers of investigation violates the state constitution. HB 2893 requires that the members of police misconduct boards be partially composed of police officers, but the City set up its own review board a month before the legislation was passed which says police officers or former police officers shall not sit on its police review board.
Similarly, the City objects to the qualifications laid out in the law for civilian review boards; the City merely wants non-City employees serving on it, but the legislation requires that board members have some training. And finally, the City objects to a provision which states that when requested by a legislator, the Attorney General may investigate laws or rules passed by lower levels of government that appear to violate state law, and withhold state funding if a violation is found.