Arizona Gov. Ducey threatens legal challenge to 'unfathomable' Tucson vaccine mandate
Kentucky senator sounds off on Chicago’s mandates causing the city to prepare for possible police shortage.
The city council in Tucson, Arizona, voted to terminate city employees who refuse to take a COVID-19vaccine jab, a move that Gov. Doug Ducey, R-Ariz., condemned as "unfathomable" as he suggested he would challenge legally.
The city council voted 4-3 on Tuesday to approve a mandate that city employees get vaccinated or lose their jobs by Dec. 1, the Associated Press reported. Around 300 of the city's nearly 4,000 employees have refused the shot as of last week.
"It’s unfathomable that after a year as tough as last, the Tucson City Council voted to FIRE unvaccinated city employees," Ducey wrote of the policy. "The state Legislature has spoken on this issue — they want Arizonans and their sincerely held beliefs to be protected from overreaching mandates."
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, Fil)
Ducey wrote a letter to Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin, noting that Arizona law requires employers to "provide a reasonable accommodation" if an employee cites sincerely held religious beliefs as a reason for not taking the vaccine.
He said public reports did not suggest that Tucson's vaccine mandate includes such an accommodation and warned that this legal requirement remains in effect, even though some parts of the law banning vaccine mandates were struck down as unconstitutional.
"I took an oath to uphold Arizona’s laws and ensure they are faithfully executed, and I will continue to do so," Ducey declared. "My office has informed the City of Tucson that their policy is in conflict with the law and, as such, should be rescinded."
Ducey ended his message by encouraging "all Arizonans to get the vaccine against COVID-19," calling the jab "the best way of keeping you and your loved ones safe."
FILE - In this April 15, 2021, file photo, Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks during a bill signing in Phoenix. The Arizona Supreme Court is set to release its decision, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in a constitutional challenge to a new tax on high earners that was designed to increase school funding and approved by the state’s voters in November. Ducey opposed the new tax and said he hopes the state's high court finds it unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)
Many Republican governors have banned vaccine and mask mandates in the name of personal choice, but some have suggested that local officials, not state leaders, should make these decisions.
"The local officials should have control here," Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., told CNN in August. "I'm a conservative. I think you govern best when you govern closest to the people being governed. And if a local community is having their ICU is full and the people at the local schools see that they've got to make sure they stay open because otherwise children miss out for another year of school … then the local officials should be listened to. That is a conservative principle."
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La. (Reuters)