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July 17, 2020

Around the nation: Georgia's governor sues Atlanta mayor over face-mask mandate

Daily Briefing

    The lawsuit follows Gov. Brian Kemp's executive order prohibiting local governments in Georgia from establishing mask-wearing mandates, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Arkansas, Georgia, and Oklahoma.

    • Arkansas: The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Arkansas officials on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate Arkansas' Medicaid work requirements, which a federal appeals court struck down earlier this year. DOJ in a Supreme Court filing argued that the appeals court's decision to block HHS from approving the work requirements "reflect[ed] a fundamental misreading of [federal] statutory text and context," and the decision should be reviewed by the Supreme Court because nearly 20 states have asked for or received the federal government's permission to implement Medicaid work requirements (Weixel, The Hill, 7/14; Cirruzzo, Inside Health Policy, 7/14 [subscription required]).

    • Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Thursday filed a lawsuit suing the Atlanta City Council and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) over her executive order requiring people in the city to wear face masks in public spaces and barring the gathering of more than 10 people in public areas. Kemp filed the lawsuit after issuing an executive order on Wednesday prohibiting local governments in Georgia from establishing mandatory mask-wearing policies, though he said state residents are "strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable." The lawsuit Kemp filed against Atlanta officials claims that Kemp alone "leads" Georgia "against the worldwide novel coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic," and he has the authority "to suspend municipal orders that are contradictory to any state law or to his executive orders" (Klar, The Hill, 7/15; Amy/Nadler, Associated Press, 7/15; Romo, NPR, 7/16).

    • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) on Wednesday announced that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, making him the first governor to announce that they've contracted the virus. Stitt said he was tested for the virus on Tuesday, and that he is a "little bit achy" but feels "fine." Stitt said he will isolate himself from his family and work from home, and he hopes his experience reminds "Oklahomans that if you aren't feeling well, we want you to get tested" (Jones/Stracqualursi, CNN, 7/15).

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