Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration has filed suit against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council to block the city’s mask and other COVID-19 mandates.
In a series of tweets, Kemp said the lawsuit was filed on “behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times.”
“These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth. Just like sending in the Georgia National Guard to protect those living in our capital city from crime and violence, I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens. We will fight to stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics.”
The lawsuit, filed in Fulton County Superior Court, says Kemp has the power to “suspend municipal orders that are contradictory” to state laws or his executive orders.
The suit also asked the court to block Bottoms from issuing any additional orders or press releases that mandate masks or other restrictions not allowed under Kemp’s latest July 15 executive order that extends the state’s public health emergency to July 31.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, who also filed the lawsuit, tweeted: “The State of Georgia continues to urge citizens to wear masks. This lawsuit is about the rule of law.”
Earlier in the day, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms held an online press conference where she said, “I am not concerned about the state suing the city. As [poet] Audre Lorde said, ‘I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.’ I’ll put the city’s policies up against any of the state’s. I believe the mask policy is defensible and it stands.”
The lawsuit is likely to set up a showdown with our counties and municipalities that have instituted their own mask requirements, including Decatur, Athens, and Savannah.
Mayor Bottoms responded to Kemp with her own set of tweets, stating “3,104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the 106k who have tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, I have been sued by @GovKemp for a mask mandate. A better use of tax payer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing. #ATLStrong”