ATLANTA (AP/WSAV) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday said he’s dropping a lawsuit against the city of Atlanta in a dispute over the City’s requirement to wear masks in public and other restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the governor says he’s taking executive action following Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ “refusal in mediation to further negotiate a compromise.”
Kemp sued Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council in July. The Republican governor argued local leaders cannot impose measures that are more or less restrictive than those in his executive orders.
The decision to drop the lawsuit comes as negotiations ordered by a judge between Kemp and Bottoms broke down, according to a statement from Kemp.
The lawsuit filed July 16 asked a judge to overturn Bottoms’ orders that are more restrictive than Kemp’s, block her from issuing any more such orders, instruct the City Council not to ratify Bottoms’ actions or adopt any ordinances inconsistent with Kemp’s orders, to prohibit Bottoms from making public statements asserting she has authority that exceeds Kemp’s, and to require city officials to enforce “all provisions” of Kemp’s existing orders.
“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,” a statement from his office reads. “Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next executive order.”
Bottoms later tweeted, arguing that recommendations have always been voluntary. “The intentional misrepresentation of this fact is shameful,” she said.
The governor’s current executive order expires Saturday. Kemp’s office says he’ll issue a new order that gives local governments the ability to require face coverings and will have “very strong protections” for businesses.