Arizona mayor defies governor's COVID vaccine mandate ban: 'No authority'

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One Arizona mayor announced that she will keep the coronavirus vaccine mandate for city workers in place despite Gov. Doug Ducey’s renewal of an executive order banning local governments from imposing the vaccine requirements.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero made the announcement on Thursday, saying in a tweet that the governor “needs to focus on the crisis at hand and do his job as COVID-19 cases rise and ICU beds dwindle.”

On Wednesday, Ducey issued an executive order banning cities from instituting COVID-19 vaccine mandates. The City of Tucson will keep its current policy requiring employee vaccinations.

“He has no authority to preempt local actions through executive orders,” she said.

Dec 16, 2020; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Governor Doug Ducey speaks during a press conference. Mandatory Credit: David Wallace/The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK

Romero added that 99% of city employees have complied with the city’s vaccine mandate or have had an extension approved.

“Our employees answered that call to protect each other and protect our community,” Romero said.

Ducey signed the executive order on Wednesday banning local governments and the state from creating their own coronavirus vaccine mandates.

“No person shall be required by this state, or any city, town or county to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine,” the order states.

Under the order, health care institutions will be permitted to mandate the vaccine, however. Ducey renewed the local government vaccine mandate ban, which had recently expired.

Previously, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told Fox News that his office determined that Tucson’s vaccine mandate for city workers is “illegal” under state law.

“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 in a press release obtained by Fox News. “COVID-19 vaccinations should be a choice, not a government mandate.”

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
(Fox News)

In September, Ducey said in a statement he would “push back” on President Biden’s coronavirus vaccine mandate for companies who employ over 100 people, calling his administration “dictatorial.”

“Joe Biden has failed us on COVID. He ran for office on a promise to ‘shut down the virus.’ He has failed on this, much as he has failed on the border crisis and in Afghanistan. So now, President Biden’s plan is to shut down freedom,” Ducey said. “COVID-19 is a contagious disease, it is still with us and it will be for the foreseeable future. President Biden’s solution is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way.”

Fox News’ Houston Knee contributed to this report

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