Gov. Kemp to end Georgia health emergency but keep some powers

Gov. Kemp to end Georgia health emergency but keep some powers

FILE – In this Dec. 22, 2020, file photo Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during a news conference on vaccines for COVID-19 at Emory Health Care in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File) ATLANTA – Georgia’s governor says he will end the state’s public health state of emergency on July 1, more than 15 months after he initially declared it because of the coronavirus pandemic. Republican Brian Kemp made the announcement Tuesday, signing a fresh extension of the extraordinary powers granted to him by lawmakers that will expire at 12 a.m. on July 1. “Thanks to those efforts, more Georgians are getting vaccinated, our economic momentum is strong, and people are getting back to normal,” Kemp said in a statement. “We have emerged resilient, and I thank all Georgians for doing their part.” Kemp becomes the latest in a series of governors nationwide to wind down emergency powers. The move comes even as public health officials warn of the spread of the more infectious delta variant of the coronavirus that was first detected in India. This was the first use of Georgia’s public health emergency law. It grants Kemp sweeping powers to suspend laws and state regulations. He can use it to commandeer private property, take over hospitals, shut down schools, offer temporary housing and welfare payments, and take money directly from the state treasury without legislative authorization. The governor says he will hold on to some extraordinary powers, saying he will issue a different kind of emergency order suspending […]

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