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AZ AG Drops the Hammer: City Must Rescind COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate or Lose Millions in Funding

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Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich informed the city of Tucson on Tuesday that it must rescind or amend its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public employees or lose millions of dollars in state funding.

Last month, the Tucson City Council passed an ordinance requiring all of its employees to be vaccinated, KGUN-TV reported.

In a Tuesday news release, Brnovich said, “Tucson’s vaccine mandate is illegal, and the city could be held liable for attempting to force employees to take it against their beliefs.”

“COVID-19 vaccinations should be a choice, not a government mandate,” he added.

The attorney general’s office also announced that it had notified the City of Tucson if it “does not rescind its policy within the next 30 days, the AGO will notify the Arizona Treasurer, who will withhold the city’s portion of state shared revenue until it comes into compliance.”

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The AGO noted that the ordinance is in direct violation of Senate Bill 1824, which Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law at the end of June.

The law prohibits local government from establishing vaccine passports or mandating COVID-19 vaccinations.

On Aug. 16, soon after Tucson passed its vaccine ordinance, Ducey issued an executive order making clear such mandates are illegal.

“We encourage all Arizonans to get the vaccine — it’s safe, effective and free,” Ducey said in a statement at the time.

“But getting it is a personal choice, and we will not allow discrimination based on vaccination status,” he added. “Today’s order builds on our efforts to protect Arizonans from excessive mandates that hinder their freedom to choose what’s best for their health.”

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The governor’s office noted the executive order is consistent with SB 1824.

Last week, the Tucson City Council voted to join a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of SB 1824, KOLD-TV reported.

“This law is in direct conflict with the guidance of both Centers for Disease Control and the Arizona Department of Health Services,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said.

“Our school districts should not be punished for simply following the advice of our health experts.”

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