By Taylor Seely & Sarah Lapidus | Arizona Republic
Attorney General Kris Mayes effectively gave Arizona’s two largest cities the green light to implement bans on housing assistance discrimination (on March 8).
Mayes released a report that reversed her predecessor’s decision on the legality of Tucson’s source-of-income ordinance. The city’s ordinance barred discrimination against renters and prospective homebuyers based on their source of income, such as those who use Section 8 housing vouchers or foster care subsidies, for example.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero celebrated the reversal.
“The Source of Income Protection is one of the solutions for the housing crisis in Arizona,” Romero said. “I applaud Arizona Attorney General Mayes for reversing the opinion of the previous AG and recognizing that the City of Tucson has the authority as a chartered city to make the decisions that protect our most vulnerable residents.”
Previous Attorney General Mark Brnovich had said the city rule violated state law, leading Tucson to suspend the rule and halt enforcement to avoid losing significant funding from the state.
Mayes’ March 8 reversal, however, said her predecessor’s opinion erroneously interpreted state law and that state law does not preempt the ordinance.
While Mayes’ opinion deals only with complaints against Tucson’s income-source ordinance, it also affects Phoenix, because the City Council members there passed a source-of-income ordinance similar to Tucson’s on March 1. Phoenix’s ordinance stipulated it only would go into effect if Mayes gave Tucson the OK.
“Discrimination has no place in Phoenix, especially as we continue taking on the challenge of creating affordable housing options for our residents,” Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement.
“The source of income ordinance we passed will help us move closer to our goal of housing more residents with an eye towards equity. I want to thank Attorney General Mayes for her thoughtful and quick work to correct the course on this issue, and I look forward to the positive impact it will have on thousands of Phoenicians,” Gallego said.
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