Arizona AG says Tucson fair housing ordinance violates law

December 22, 2022 GMT

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is ordering the city of Tucson to repeal a law prohibiting landlords from denying potential tenants because of how they make their money.

Brnovich said in a news release Thursday that Tucson’s “source of income” ordinance violates state law.

The state’s top prosecutor argues the Arizona Legislature in 1992 passed legislation allowing large cities and towns to devise local fair housing measures. However, the measures had to be approved by Jan. 1, 1995. This current ordinance comes 27 years too late, Brnovich said.

Tucson City Attorney Mike Rankin said in a statement the city “will evaluate the Attorney General’s finding over the next few days and then discuss the next steps with the mayor and council at the next available meeting.”

The Tucson City Council unanimously passed the ordinance in September despite objections from an apartment owners group. The law adds source of income to other factors like race and sexual orientation that are protected from discrimination. The intent was to protect low-income renters who receive government housing assistance.

Republican state Speaker-elect Rep. Ben Toma of Peoria was among those who blasted the ordinance and filed a complaint with the attorney general.

Brnovich says Tucson has 30 days to rescind the law.