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Georgia governor withdraws lawsuit against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Gov. Kemp will sign a new executive order stating that local governments cannot order private businesses to require masks.

Keisha Lance Bottoms and Brian Kemp Getty Images

Georgia’s governor has withdrawn the lawsuit he filed against Atlanta’s mayor and city council in an effort to block regulations the city put in place to fight COVID-19. Governor Brian Kemp wanted to keep Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from imposing a citywide mask mandate.

“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,” Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement Thursday (Aug. 13).

He continued, “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.”

Bottoms told CNN that she was “grateful” he withdrew the lawsuit, but says he was not truthful with his statement about her reopening plans. “While it is unfortunate that the Governor seeks to intentionally mislead the people of our state by issuing a woefully inaccurate statement regarding our good faith negotiations and the City’s reopening recommendations, I am grateful that this lawsuit has been withdrawn and the time and resources of our city and state can be better used to combat COVID-19,” she said.

Last month, Bottoms told the outlet that she believed Kemp’s lawsuit was a form of “personal retaliation” because he “did not sue the city of Atlanta. He filed suit against myself and our city council personally.” Kemp believes that the citizens of Georgia don’t need a mandate to “do the right thing.”

His new executive order will reportedly be signed this Saturday (Aug. 15). It is expected to state that local governments cannot order private businesses to require masks. The order will also reportedly remove a clause that banned counties and cities from mandating face coverings.

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