Georgia governor sues Atlanta mayor, city council over mask mandate
ATLANTA - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has filed a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and city council following the decision to mandate masks and roll back to Phase 1 reopening.
The state released the full 124-page lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of Fulton County. It names the mayor along with the members of the Atlanta City Council. The lawsuit outlines how the state believes the mayor has superseded her authority given to her by the state.
The lawsuit reads in part:
"Governor Kemp seeks to have the Superior Court of Fulton County declare that Mayor Bottoms exceeded her authorities by issuing an executive order which were more restrictive than his Executive Orders related to the Public Health Emergency, declare that Mayor Bottom's executive orders are suspended, enjoin Mayor Bottoms from issuing any additional executive orders with more or less restrictive mandates than Governor Kemp has ordered or may order..."
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The lawsuit follows an executive order signed Wednesday that "suspended" mask mandates issued by local municipalities.
“This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times,” the governor was quoted as saying. “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.”
Mayor of Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the 2018 Essence Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on July 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Essence)
Last Wednesday, the governor called out Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s executive order calling for masks to be worn. In a statement, he called the mayor’s mask mandate "unenforceable" and urged her to enforce current provisions of the governor's orders strongly encouraging, but not requiring face coverings. The governor did not specify what provision the city was not enforcing.
Bottoms signed an executive order last Wednesday evening mandating the use of masks throughout the city. The governor has already clashed with the mayor recently over policing issues, calling out the Georgia National Guard to protect state government offices after an 8-year-old girl was fatally shot by armed people at the site of a fast-food restaurant where an Atlanta police officer shot and killed a Black man.
“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,” the governor said. “We will fight to stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics.”
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No word on when a possible hearing on this matter would be.
In response to the lawsuit, Mayor Bottoms tweeted Thursday, "3104 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. Better use of taxpayer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing. #ATLStrong."
Atlanta is one of more than a dozen cities in Georgia that issued a mask mandate, with the first being Savannah at the start of the month.
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