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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp Drops Lawsuit Against Atlanta Mask Mandate

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) is dropping a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) after Bottoms issued a mandate requiring masks in her city.

In a statement, Kemp said, “I sued the City of Atlanta to immediately stop the shuttering of local businesses and protect local workers from economic instability. For weeks, we have worked in good faith with Mayor Bottoms, and she agreed to abandon the city’s Phase One roll-back plan, which included business closures and a shelter in place order.”

But he said that negotiations broke down and promised an executive order, adding, “Unfortunately, the Mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia. Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next Executive Order. We will continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

Kemp announced the lawsuit in mid-July, tweeting, “This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times.”

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Mayor Bottoms responded, “I am not afraid of the city being sued.”

After negotiations, Kemp made a request for an emergency hearing, which he later withdrew, reasoning that “Mayor Bottoms has taken several opportunities to publicly explain that the Phase One rollback is purely voluntary, and we appreciate this concession.”

The city argued that they are protected by sovereign immunity and in a court filing, shot back “In the absence of state leadership on this issue, local governments have stepped in to protect their citizens.”

Georgia has become a coronavirus hotbed and one of the few places in the country where schools tried to re-open. But that has fallen apart. In one Georgia school district, nearly 1,200 students are quarantined after an outbreak. Another temporarily closed after nine students and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus.

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