A law mandating the COVID-19 vaccine among Tucson city employees is illegal, according to Arizona’s attorney general.
“Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced that his office (AGO) determined the City of Tucson’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public employees does violate state law for purposes of S.B. 1487, and also is in direct conflict with the Governor’s Executive Order 2021-18,” a press release from Brnovich’s office said.
The release said that Tucson must remove or amend the order, or it will lose state funding, which amounts to millions of dollars.
“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.”
A deadline by which the city must rescind or amend the order was not immediately defined.
Brnovich recently issued a legal opinion on whether private businesses in Arizona could require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.
“Under federal and state law, employers who mandate vaccination must provide reasonable accommodations to employees who cannot obtain the COVID-19 vaccine due to a disability or a sincerely-held religious belief,” that opinion said. “Any employer inquiry into a disability or sincerely-held religious belief must genuinely serve the employer’s asserted business necessity and the request must be no broader and no more intrusive than necessary.”
The battle over mandatory vaccine mandates is heating up nationwide.
Monday is the deadline for New York’s state employees to take the COVID-19 vaccine. That rule was implemented by former Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), just before he resigned in disgrace over multiple allegations of sexual harassment.
State employees can either take the vaccine, or submit to weekly testing, but not all of them have that option.
Healthcare employees who work for state-run hospitals will be required to take the vaccine. They cannot opt for weekly testing instead.
Across the country, healthcare workers have been protesting mandatory COVID-19 vaccines after working through the entirety of 2020, during the height of the pandemic, without a vaccine.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].