LA GOP Lawmakers Take First Step To Reduce Governor's Emergency Powers

May 7, 2020

Credit Courtesy: Chuck Smith / Red River Radio News

GOP LAWMAKERS MOVE TO RESTRICT  GOVERNOR'S POWERS - Attorney General Jeff Landry is calling for Gov. John Bel Edwards to allow barbershops and salons to reopen ahead of schedule.   Landry wrote in a letter to the governor that the state’s “thousands” of licensed cosmetologists are struggling to make ends meet.  Last week, Landry requested that Edwards allow churches and houses of worship to reopen.  Last Friday, Edwards relaxed the state’s social distancing measures,  allowing  restaurants to reopen patio dining areas and religious institutions to hold in-person worship services provided they observe specific social-distancing and contact measures. 

HRC58 - State Republican lawmakers in Louisiana took their first stab at trying to overturn   Gov. John 

Rep. Blake Miguez (R) Erath, LA
Credit Courtesy: Louisiana House of Representatives Video

Bel Edwards' statewide stay-at-home order Wednesday during a House hearing to consider curbing the Governor’s emergency powers.   Many GOP members have said the Governor’s response to the Coronavirus is hurting the Louisiana Economy.  State Representative Blake Miguez, Republican from Erath explained the purpose of HCR-58 before the House Committee on House and Governmental Affairs in Baton Rouge. 

"The intent of this is to take the teeth out of his (Edwards') executive order," Miguez explained. "It won't affect our federal funds, it won't affect our ability to declare an emergency if we have a tornado or a hurricane but it will affect his ability enforce the criminal penalties and civil penalties on businesses for not following those rules.  And empower those locals to determine what's best for their area."

In Response, Governor Edwards says these moves by state GOP  lawmakers don’t have merit as his administration is following reopening guidelines from Washington.   

Governor John Bel Edwards (D) of Louisiana
Credit Courtesy: Louisiana Governors Office

"There's a very good reason for the orders,"Edwards said. "It's all based on CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidance, it's based on the White House plan. I don't think that we've done anything that the White House didn't put out as teh proper course of action."

The House and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 9-7 to advance the proposal in a near party-line decision that would strip the governor of his ability to penalize businesses that don't comply with his order, for 15 days from passage.  Governor Edwards extended his emergency orders to May 15th but has allowed some businesses to open but with restrictions.