In the wake of an investigation, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich found an ordinance altering the city of Tucson’s fair housing policies to violate state law.
“Tucson’s ordinance restricting home sellers and renters from considering the source of income of interested individuals violates state law,” said Brnovich.
Arizona House Speaker-Elect Ben Toma (R-Peoria) filed a complaint against the City of Tucson (COT) for amending its Fair Housing Code in a way he said is unconstitutional.
“The adopted ordinance violates state law and our Constitution. To put it plainly, no matter the reason, Arizona’s ninety-one cities and towns are bound by the laws of this state. We hold this expectation for our citizens, and we will do the same for our local governments,” said Toma.
The Tucson City Council recently approved an amendment to the Unified Development Code to ensure that new commercial development in Tucson is Electric Vehicle (EV) ready.
“These new regulations would require all new commercial development, multi-family, office, and retail to include EV stations or outlets, as well as conduit to support future expansion of EV capacity,” according to the city of Tucson. “These new requirements come after more than a year of stakeholder and public engagement, community input, and technical analysis to develop the proposal.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) announced Tuesday that he had filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Tucson over its mandatory COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
“Tucson dictated a widespread vaccine mandate without regard to its impact on the liberties and civil rights of its employees,” Brnovich said in a press release. “Many of those affected are first responders, and it’s our turn to be there for them. The city’s misguided vaccine mandate is an ugly example of government overreach that we must vigorously oppose.”
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 Tucson initially backed off of mandating the COVID-19 vaccine after Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion declaring it was illegal, but Tucson has now reversed itself again with a new 4-3 vote by the Tucson City Council. Any Tucson employee not in compliance by December 1 will be fired. Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted that it was “unfathomable” and had his General Counsel Annie Foster send City Attorney Mike Rankin a stern letter.
“It’s unfathomable that after a year as tough as last, the Tucson City Council voted to FIRE unvaccinated city employees,” Ducey tweeted. “The state Legislature has spoken on this issue — they want Arizonans and their sincerely held beliefs to be protected from overreaching mandates.”
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion on Tuesday stating that the City of Tucson’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city employees violates S.B. 1824 (soon to be A.R.S. 36-681) and Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Order 2021-18 prohibiting local and state governments from implementing them. Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa) submitted a SB 1487 request for the investigation.
“Tucson’s vaccine mandate is illegal, and the city could be held liable for attempting to force employees to take it against their beliefs,” Brnovich said. “COVID-19 vaccinations should be a choice, not a government mandate.” His spokeswoman, Katie Conner, told reporters during a phone call, “Adhering to the rule of law in Arizona is not optional.”
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.”
In response to various business and governmental entities mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for employees, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb told people in a video posted to Twitter that he would not be imposing a mandate for his workers. Gov. Doug Ducey issued an order on August 16 prohibiting local governments from issuing vaccine mandates. It is punishable by a class 3 misdemeanor or other legal action.
Lamb said, “As long as I am your sheriff, we will never mandate the vaccine. We believe that your health choices are yours and yours alone. Whether you get the vaccine, or don’t get the vaccine, that’s your private information. Here, we believe in America and freedom and we’re going to continue on with that. God bless.”