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Gov. Kemp withdraws lawsuit over masks, says Atlanta mayor wouldn’t negotiate

Metro ATL

Gov. Kemp withdraws lawsuit over masks, says Atlanta mayor wouldn’t negotiate

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. Image obtained via Atlantaga.gov
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Atlanta, GA — Gov. Brian Kemp is withdrawing his lawsuit against the city of Atlanta over the city’s decision to require masks and says it’s because Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms wasn’t willing to negotiate.

The mask order is intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“In light of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ concession regarding the city’s phase one roll-back plan and following her refusal in mediation to further negotiate a compromise, the Attorney General’s Office has filed to withdraw our pending lawsuit,” Kemp said in a press release.

The phase one guidelines ordered individuals to stay home for everything except essential trips and closed restaurants and businesses except for to-go orders and curbside pickups. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Bottoms agreed to clarify that those restrictions are voluntary, but the two sides reached an impasse on the mask issue.

Kemp pledged to sign a new executive order to address the “stalemate” in the negotiations. According to the AJC that executive order will “specify that local governments can’t order private businesses to require masks. It is also likely to remove a provision that explicitly outlawed cities and counties from mandating face coverings, administration officials say.”

Here is Kemp’s full statement about the decision to withdraw the lawsuit.

Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp issued the following statement regarding litigation against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the City Council:

“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. 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.”

In light of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ concession regarding the city’s Phase One roll-back plan and following her refusal in mediation to further negotiate a compromise, the Attorney General’s Office has filed to withdraw our pending lawsuit. The Governor’s current Executive Order expires this Saturday, August 15, at which time he will issue a new order with relevant language.

 

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