Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp backed down from his request for an emergency order barring Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from requiring face masks in public and instituting other coronavirus control measures. Kemp’s lawyers had scheduled a hearing for Tuesday but withdrew their request, saying the two sides were having productive negotiations.
Why is the state suing Atlanta? The Republican governor’s lawyers argued that his executive order about COVID-19 restrictions explicitly prevents state or local governments from passing mandates that are looser or stricter than state requirements. Attorneys representing the Democratic mayor said the city’s action is necessary to protect its citizens and that the governor’s order cannot preempt Atlanta’s jurisdiction. But Bottoms clarified on Monday that her guidance to return to phase one precautions was voluntary. Georgia has seen an 80 percent increase in its daily number of active coronavirus cases since the beginning of the month, reaching 4,293 cases statewide on Tuesday.
Dig deeper: Read Harvest Prude’s analysis in The Stew of the new GOP coronavirus stimulus bill in the Senate.