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Arizona Attorney General to investigate if Tucson vaccine mandate breaks state law

Posted at 4:45 PM, Oct 22, 2021

PHOENIX — The State Attorney General is now investigating to see if the City of Tucson violated state law when it made it mandatory for city workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Tucson is on the verge of breaking a record for homicides set in 2008 when 79 people were killed. State Senator Vince Leach doesn’t believe this is the time to fire first responders if they’re not vaccinated. A combined total of 113 Tucson first responders face termination in December because they’re either not vaccinated or did not receive a religious or medical accommodation.

Senator Leach filed a 1487 request with the Attorney General. It allows a member of the legislature to demand an investigation of actions a city or town takes to see if they violate state law.

In his complaint, Leach cited the letter Executive Counsel to the Governor Anni Foster sent to Tucson City Attorney Mike G. Rankin warning the firings may be illegal and any action by the city should at least wait until the State Supreme Court decides if Arizona’s anti-mask mandate law is constitutional. The court hears the appeal on November 2.

RELATED: Tucson's COVID-19 employee vaccine mandate violates state law, Arizona Attorney General says

In September, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled two provisions of the law were unconstitutional. But the judge let stand a provision requiring an employer to provide reasonable accommodation to an employee on religious grounds.

“If someone presents a sincerely held religious belief then you have to give deference and make an accommodation,” Leach said of the upheld provision to the anti-mask mandate law.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero dismissed Foster’s letter to the city Thursday calling it a politically motivated attempt by the governor to micromanage Tucson. The mayor did comment Friday on the Attorney General’s investigation. If Tucson’s vaccine mandate is found to be a violation of state law, it would mean Tucson could lose tens of millions of dollars from its allocation of state sales tax revenues.

Tucson has until Tuesday to respond to the Attorney General regarding State Senator Leach’s complaint.

The Attorney General has until the end of November to decide if Tucson did or did not violate state law.