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Tucson, Pima County officials praise ruling that strikes down bans on mandates
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Tucson, Pima County officials praise ruling that strikes down bans on mandates

After a Maricopa County Superior Court judge struck down a group of state laws that had barred local governments and school districts from mandating certain COVID-19 mitigation measures, Pima County and the city of Tucson responded with praise.

“During a pandemic, governments should use every tool available to protect the public from the spread of the contagious disease,” Sharon Bronson, chair of the county Board of Supervisors, said in a news release. “Face masks, distancing, quarantines and vaccines have worked before and they’re working now. That’s why it made no sense for the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Doug Ducey to handcuff schools and local governments with foolish prohibitions on sensible mitigation measures.”

The board previously turned down COVID-mitigating actions such as mandating vaccinations for county employees and mandating masks in schools due to the slew of state laws that would have taken effect Wednesday.

According to County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, any of those actions the board previously denied could now come back for consideration. “I’m pleased that the court returned decision making back to public health professionals,” Huckelberry said. “Anything that was on the table that may have dealt with mandatory vaccination, mandatory mask-wearing — all of those issues are back on the table for the board to discuss and decide.”

Dr. Francisco Garcia, the county’s chief medical officer, said the most “powerful” part of the ruling is giving school districts the ability to mandate masking “in order to keep everyone safe.”

On Tuesday, Sept. 28, the Tucson City Council will discuss the next steps to take in its implementation of a vaccine mandate for city employees. The mandate was halted after Attorney General Mark Brnovich said the policy was a violation of a state law.

“As the mom of two kids attending our public schools, this ruling brings me incredible relief,” Mayor Regina Romero said on Twitter. “This ruling re-affirms that our State Legislature acted unconstitutionally when they manipulated the budget to prevent local officials from taking steps to protect public health.”

Contact reporter Nicole Ludden at nludden@tucson.com


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Nicole joined the Star in 2021. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism at ASU’s Cronkite school in 2020 and has won awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, AC Press and Arizona Press Club.

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