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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sues Atlanta mayor over city's face mask mandate

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“If being sued by the State is what it takes to save lives in Atlanta, then we will see them in court,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said.
Georgia’s governor on Thursday sued Atlanta’s mayor over that city’s mask law, a day after the governor banned local governments from requiring the coverings that health experts say help to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“The State of Georgia continues to urge citizens to wear masks. This lawsuit is about the rule of law,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement.
Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, and members of Atlanta’s City Council.
The lawsuit argues that Bottoms exceeded her authority in issuing coronavirus-related orders that are more restrictive than the state’s orders.
. Kemp issued his executive order, which banned more than a dozen local governments from mandating that masks be worn in public, on Wednesday. A spokesman for Atlanta’s mayor had said that the mayor’s order remained in effect, that the city would be guided by data and science, and that “masks save lives.”
Bottoms was defiant after Kemp’s lawsuit Thursday, noting that 3,014 Georgians have died and that she and her family are among those who have tested positive.
“A better use of taxpayer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing,” she said. “If being sued by the State is what it takes to save lives in Atlanta, then we will see them in court.”
As of Thursday, 131,275 cases have been confirmed in Georgia with 3,104 deaths, according to the state health department.
In the state, 3,871 new cases were reported Wednesday — the second highest daily total since the start of the pandemic, according to NBC News’ tally. More than 3,400 cases were reported Thursday, according to the state health department’s website.
Carr, the attorney general, said that chief executive power in the state resides with the governor, and “The City of Atlanta cannot continue to knowingly enter orders that are unenforceable and void.”
Kemp spokeswoman Candice Broce had insisted in a tweet the governor was not against wearing masks.
“Previous executive orders — and now this order — state no local action can be more or less restrictive than ours,” Broce wrote.

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