ATLANTA - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is withdrawing a motion for an emergency hearing over Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ mask order.
In a statement released late Monday evening, a spokesperson for the governor wrote:
“Shortly after we filed suit against Mayor Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council, the Mayor retreated from misleading claims that the city was reverting to Phase One by shuttering specific businesses and penalizing law-abiding business owners. From the beginning, this overstep by the Mayor was our foremost concern and the primary impetus behind the litigation given the threat of economic harm and immediate backlash from Atlanta’s business community. Now, Mayor Bottoms has taken several opportunities to publicly explain that Phase One is purely voluntary, and we appreciate this concession.
“To continue productive, good faith negotiations with city officials and prepare for a future hearing on the merits of our legal position, we will withdraw our motion for the emergency hearing tomorrow. Our ultimate priority remains the same: protecting the lives and livelihoods of our citizens and Georgia businesses.
“We will continue to fight for hardworking Georgians and prioritize public health data and science in our decision-making.”
Last week, a Fulton County Superior Court judge had ordered the two to mediation. Over the weekend, both sides reportedly were making good progress, prompting the judge to delay Tuesday’s hearing until 2 p.m.
The mediation was ordered after Kemp filed a lawsuit asking 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.
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