ATLANTA — Today, a Washington Post investigation revealed that during Brian Kemp’s reckless and rushed reopening of Georgia, he let business lobbyists write their own rules — resulting in dangerously loose guidelines that “made clear that economic objectives triumphed over public health” as Georgia now reaches new highs of over 3,400 COVID-19 cases daily.
From the Post:
Five days after Georgia’s stay-at-home order expired, setting gyms, restaurants, hair and nail salons and other businesses on a quick course to reopen, a lobbyist for the state’s chamber of commerce emailed top aides to Brian Kemp, the Republican governor.
In the May 5 email, the lobbyist, David Raynor, asked the governor’s aides, including his chief of staff and executive counsel, to prioritize legal protections for businesses if workers or customers were to contract the coronavirus. Kemp’s lawyer, David Dove, replied within five minutes, beginning with an informal salutation, “Hey man,” and strategizing about how to accomplish the group’s aim.
The Post’s investigation also reveals that while refusing to expand health care or support Georgians who’d lost their livelihood from the pandemic, Kemp’s administration was working directly with big businesses to shield corporations from lawsuits from Georgians endangered by the early reopening — with Kemp’s attorney even admitting that the lobbyist-written legislation was “largely the structure that got adopted.”
Kemp’s reckless reopening has been largely opposed by health experts, who have clearly pointed to “a serious price to pay” as states reopen early. Just this week, Georgia has now hit a new seven-day case average high of 2,808 cases, with over 100,000 total cases, 12,606 hospital admissions, and 2,930 coronavirus deaths.
“It is outrageous that while Georgia Republicans refused to expand health care or help Georgia families cope with this crisis, Brian Kemp opened his arms to help corporate lobbyists write our rules for reopening,” said Democratic Party of Georgia Chairwoman Nikema Williams. “More Georgians are suffering from COVID-19 because of our governor’s callous and dangerous approach — at every turn, he continues to put corporate cronyism over public health.”
Read the full piece here.
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