City says governor exceeded his power in order to stop mask mandate

ATLANTA — The city of Atlanta believes the governor exceeded his constitutional authority when he attempted to stop Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from instituting a mask mandate.

Gov. Brian Kemp filed a lawsuit against Bottoms earlier this month trying to stop her mask mandate and the phase one rollback.

They’ve made progress in their negotiations.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot went through the city of Atlanta’s 254-page response to the governor’s request for an emergency injunction to stop Bottoms’ orders.

The city believes Kemp is exceeding his legal authority.

“The governor’s order is invalid because it exceeds the public health emergency declaration approved by the general assembly,” the response stated.

Both sides went to mediation but we’ve learned they’ve made more progress through direct negotiations between Kemp and Bottoms — so much so that Tuesday, the state withdrew its request for that injunction.

Bottoms told Channel 2 Action News on Monday that she was optimistic that there would be an agreement.

“The mediation is ongoing, and something we’ve agreed to, and some things we’re still trying to work out, but I am hopeful that we will come to a resolution,” Bottoms said.


Bottoms also said her rollback order was only a recommendation and has no plans to enforce it, which is what Kemp told Elliot last week was the main focus of the suit.

“It’s hurting small businesses and trying to revive our economy during these tough times, but still having a strong message in our fight against COVID-19,” Kemp said.

Both sides are still in disagreement on the mask mandate. The city called the governor’s objections “optimistic but dangerously incorrect.”

Legal analyst Esther Panitch believes the fact the state is no longer seeking an injunction is a win for Bottoms.

“Since the governor’s office has withdrawn their request for injunctive relief, that means the mayor can continue with the mask mandate,” Panitch said.

Even though the injunction request is withdrawn, the lawsuit is still there and both sides still have to work through that, either through mediation or continued negotiations.

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