ATLANTA — The state senate approved a bill that would let the state take over operations of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport from the City of Atlanta. 

 Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded by calling it an attempted theft of the airport from the state. 

The airport bill passed mostly on a party line vote – Republicans who run the state favoring the state takeover, Democrats who are sympathetic to the city voting against.

Republicans were quick to show newspaper headlines covering the city hall corruption scandal – and tying it to the airport even though prosecutors have not.

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"When you’ve got scandals like this it bleeds on down. It bleeds down to the rest of us. And we’re supposed to sit here and take it. The answer is no, we’re not going to," state Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford) told the Senate.

"When we start talking about ethics, I don’t think our hands are clean in here either," countered state Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur). 

 The city has fiercely resisted a state takeover of the airport, saying the airport is wildly successful and a change would risk that success.

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 "This bill simply seeks to undermine an economic jewel," Jones said.

After it passed, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a statement calling the measure “an attempted act of larceny” and “a sweeping power grab”, saying “there is no economic rationale for this theft" and "risks destabilizing” development and jobs at the airport.

The bill goes to the Republican controlled House.


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