Brian Kemp

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Wednesday on Political Rewind, a busy week of Georgia politics.

Following a weekend of violence in Atlanta, Republicans have criticized Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Professor of political science at Emory University Andra Gillespie said the situation is being used as political fodder.

"We will wait and see how much of this is about peformance and how much is about public safety," she said.

Listen to the full episode here:

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday signed an executive order mandating face masks in Georgia's largest city in an attempt to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control. 

The decision defies the governor's executive order that stops short of such a mandate.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp on Monday said he is activating up to 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops after an especially violent weekend in Atlanta that included the shooting death of an 8-year-old and protesters damaging part of the Georgia Department of Public Safety headquarters.

A woman wearing a mask due to coronavirus concerns walks by a public library, Tuesday, June 30, 2020, in Cambridge, Mass.
Elise Amendola / AP

If you're going out to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, wear a mask. If you want to save the economy and prevent the need for shutting down the state again, wear a mask.

That was the takeaway Wednesday from top health officials at Emory who were emphatic that masks should be mandatory.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp on Wednesday began traveling around the state urging residents to wear a mask in public, but he stopped short of ordering it.

The governor's tour comes as the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge across the country and a local mask requirement in Savannah took effect.

“We shouldn’t get to that,” Kemp said. “We shouldn’t need a mask mandate for people to do the right thing.”


Wednesday on Political Rewind, rapid developments in legislation as state lawmakers work through the last week of the legislative session.

Among the stories from the state Capitol, Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing reduced budget cuts to education and hate crimes legislation is on the verge of becoming reality.



John Bazemore / AP

Gov. Brian Kemp says he does not see the need for now to call up more National Guard troops or deploy additional law enforcement officers to prevent protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota from turning violent.

Kemp said he understood why people were upset, citing the coronavirus pandemic and “sky high” unemployment in addition to Floyd’s death. But he condemned the widespread vandalism and looting that broke out in Atlanta after a peaceful demonstration on Friday.

Mike Stewart / AP

Despite a 9 p.m. curfew enacted by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, rioters damaged more property across Atlanta. At least one police officer was seriously hurt during the night. An ATV rider struck the officer on Ted Turner Drive, police said.

Mike Stewart / AP

Gov. Brian Kemp called out as many as 500 National Guard troops shortly after midnight, hours into violent and destructive protests across Atlanta and Buckhead.

Fires damaged several restaurants including Del Frisco’s Grille across from Lenox Mall and Atlanta Fire Rescue crews reported fire and heavy smoke near The Tabernacle and called in help from Cobb County firefighters.

Julio Cortez / AP

Friday on Political Rewind, we discuss the latest news as national protests respond to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and, more recently, George Floyd.

And, developments in Gov. Brian Kemp's social distancing guidelines.

AP Photo/Ron Harris, Pool, File

Gov. Brian Kemp on Tuesday invited President Donald Trump to host this summer’s Republican National Convention in Georgia.

The invitation comes after Trump threatened to move the event out of North Carolina if the state’s Democratic governor does not allow a full-capacity gathering in August despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.

John Bazemore / AP

Friday on Political Rewind, President Donald Trump is threatening to deny federal funds to the state of Michigan because of the promotion of absentee ballots in 2020’s elections.

The president, as well as many Republicans in the state of Georgia, say voting by mail is too vulnerable to fraud.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Georgia’s coronavirus dashboard has seen a number of data reporting issues in recent weeks, but Gov. Brian Kemp is asking Georgians to be patient with the health officials tasked with running it.

“They are taking massive amounts of data from countless sources, putting them into accessible format under a global spotlight all at breakneck speed,” he said. “Please afford them some patience and please steer clear of personal attacks.”

Liz Fabian

With the state of Georgia battling a deadly pandemic, cutting funding for public health is untenable, say members of the Macon-Bibb County Board of Health.

Gov. Brian Kemp calls for a 14% reduction in state spending across the board.

Monday, during the health board’s monthly meeting, members present unanimously agreed to draft a stern letter to the governor and health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey stressing the critical need for budget increases, not cuts.

Elijah Nouvelage / AP

Over the past few weeks, states have slowly begun lifting some restrictions imposed by the spread of COVID-19. They are following the lead set by Georgia, which re-opened last month. 



Stephen Fowler | GPB News

In the parking lot of La Flor de Jalisco #2 supermarket in the heart of Gainesville’s Spanish-speaking community, hundreds of people drove up or walked up Friday to a COVID-19 testing site put together by a local task force.

Volunteers wearing shirts reading “No Mascara! No servicio!” worked to disinfect taxis between customers and handed out masks and stickers for Latino businesses that remind customers, “No mask, no service.”


Gov. Brian Kemp has amended his previous executive order that allowed learner's permit holders to upgrade to a driver's license without a driver's test. Now, those who have upgraded to a license will still have to take a test by Sept. 30.

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

Gov. Brian Kemp has signed a new executive order that extends health and safety precautions for reopened businesses through the end of May while state officials seek to ramp up contact tracing for those who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The 30-page order keeps bars, nightclubs and live music venues closed until the end of the month, while strongly encouraging Georgians to wear a face covering if they choose to go out in public.

Shyann Swanson

Friday on Political Rewind, a brief look at the two-month timeline that led up to murder charges this week in the case of Ahmaud Arbery. New developments draw into question decision-making at the local level.

Stephen Fowler | GPB News

Georgia's tax collections for the month of April were down more than $1 billion from last year, signaling a budgetary shortfall that could force state agencies to slash already lean budgets by more than 10% for the next fiscal year.

John Bazemore / AP

Wednesday on Political Rewind, the coronavirus pandemic is complicating an already arduous budget in Georgia.

The continuing cost of the state response, in addition to a loss of revenue and economic activity, has led Gov. Brian Kemp to last week call for significant cuts to all state agencies. 

Sam Bermas-Dawes / GPB News

Tuesday on Political Rewind, though the next meeting of the state legislature is still a topic of debate, the main topic representatives will be discussing is almost certain; the budget.

Gov. Brian Kemp and legislative leaders told state agencies last week to plan on a 14% cut in their budgets. And politics does not stop amidst pandemic.

Elijah Nouvelage / AP

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says next year’s budget will be “brutal” as state agencies brace for a potential 14% cut to their operations.

In a wide-ranging interview with GPB News, the governor also stood by his decision to lift shelter-in-place restrictions for most Georgians as the coronavirus continues to take its toll, citing “real-world data” and the limited nature of the state's reopening plan.

Kemp also discussed critical media coverage of the state and his decision, including his terse response to an NBC News reporter's questions about the Georgia Department of Public Health data used to justify allowing more activity to take place.

Sam Bermas-Dawes / AP

Friday on Political Rewind, Gov. Brian Kemp lifts a shelter-in-place order for many Georgians across the state. His press secretary joins us to discuss the decision.

What will the political fallout look like for officials across the country as multiple states begin easing restrictions?

Russ Bynum / AP

While most Georgians are no longer ordered to stay in their homes, many businesses, schools and restaurants are choosing to stay closed.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order that extends Georgia’s public health emergency through June 12 and orders older and medically at-risk residents to stay at home.  

Ron Harris / AP

Georgia's shelter-in-place order will expire for most people at 11:59 p.m. Thursday, but Gov. Brian Kemp is urging Georgians to stay at home while the state continues to combat the virus, the governor said Thursday.

In a video message, Kemp said that a new shelter-in-place order for the "medically fragile" will run through June 12, as will the state of public health emergency.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

This week in Georgia brings mobile testing for COVID-19 to more rural parts of the state, the reopening of indoor dining in restaurants and more money for local poison control.

Here are the daily coronavirus updates for Sunday, April 26.

Signage is posted on the inside windown of a Waffle House restaurant, near Kennesaw State, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Kennesaw, Ga.
Mike Stewart / AP

Georgia continues to move forward with Gov. Brian Kemp's plan to "revive" the economy. That means businesses including barber shops, nail salons and bowling alleys can open to patrons as long as they follow the governor's safety guidelines.

Restaurants may welcome customers to dine indoors starting Monday. That includes about 400 Waffle House restaurants across the state. The Norcross-based chain said Kemp's guidelines would be used to ensure the safety of employees and guests.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Macon barber Marshall Hughes, like barbers across Georgia, has been idle lately. Not so for his daughter. She’s in her second year as a nurse at the Medical Center at Navicent Health, Macon’s main hospital, where they are caring for COVID-19 patients.

“She’s had a great introduction to nursing,” Hughes joked. “Anything after this has got to be downhill.”

Hughes said he missed out on the federal aid for the barber shop he owns out in the dormant-for-now mall on the northside of town. So will he open his shop?  He could use the money, but then he thinks of his daughter.

“I'm not gonna be used as a guinea pig,” Hughes said.

Office of Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp

Gov. Brian Kemp signed a 26-page order outlining steps restaurants and other businesses must take before opening their doors as Georgia plunges forward into an economic strategy widely panned as not safe and not practicable.