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Does Tucson's curfew conflict with the governor's executive order?

Posted at 4:52 PM, Dec 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 00:33:17-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson City Council is considering the Mayor’s proposal to implement a mandatory nightly curfew.

The Mayor says she couldn’t wait any longer for the Governor to take action, but many are wondering about the legality of city orders that go beyond the state orders.

Mayor Regina Romero says a public health emergency is forcing her to take action. Monday, she announced she would be proposing a mandatory curfew to city council.

“I still feel like statewide action is much, much better than going at it alone,” said Romero.

A provision in one of Governor Ducey’s executive orders would seem to prohibit such action. It says, in part, that no county, city or town, can make a rule or regulation that would limit individuals from participating in or receiving essential services, essential activities, or non-essential services.

“State law gives the Governor certain emergency powers,” said City Attorney Michael Rankin. “But it does not give him the authority to wipe away the legal authority of other officials who are also given emergency powers.”

Rankin says Tucson’s charter gives the city the power to “make regulations to prevent the spread of diseases.” And he says under Arizona law, the Mayor, during a local emergency, is authorized to govern by proclamation and to impose necessary regulations including a curfew in all or parts of the city.

“This isn’t a challenge to state authority, but it is using the local authority that is provided under Arizona law,” said Rankin.

Mayor Romero says she can no longer wait for the Governor.

“The reality is that we’ve waited and waited and waited for the Governor, but despite a huge surge we have not seen any meaningful action from Governor Ducey,” said Romero.

The Arizona Attorney General’s office declined to weigh in on the Tucson curfew pointing us instead to the Governor’s Office since the question involves his executive order. The Governor’s Office has not responded.