Analysis: State Law Takes Aim at Local Governments

A law enacted by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Governor Ducey (A.R.S. § 41-194.01) withholds state revenues from municipalities that pass measures the state attorney general decides conflict with state law.  Reportedly, the new law was targeted at Bisbee and Tucson after those cities adopted ordinances lawmakers did not favor.  However, municipalities statewide are vulnerable.

Under this recent law, all that is required is a request from one or more legislators, regardless of their district, and the attorney general is required to investigate.  If the attorney general concludes that the county, city or town violated state law, it has 30 days to resolve the violation or lose state revenues.  If the attorney general concludes an ordinance, regulation, etc. “may violate” state law, the locality faces a special action in the state supreme court.  Either way, the legal stakes can be substantial. 

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