Legislators Rebel Against Bel Edwards’ Tyranny

‘Doing nothing is not an option’: Effort in motion to squash Louisiana’s stay-at-home order

BY Mark Ballard and Sam Karlin – The (Baton Rouge, LA) Advocate

As Gov. John Bel Edwards traded plaudits with President Donald Trump at the White House over how each has handled the coronavirus, a partisan battle erupted back home with a group of GOP lawmakers working to build support for taking the unprecedented step of repealing the governor’s public health emergency declaration.

Incensed by an extension of the state’s stay-at-home order until May 15, and a perceived lack of communication on Edwards’ behalf, a cadre of Republican legislators have been looking at a little-used law to overturn the public health emergency declaration and proclamations that have wreaked havoc in the state’s economy as businesses have closed and more than 350,000 workers have filed for unemployment.

“Members are weighing the different options that they have and this is one of them,” House Majority Leader Blake Miguez, R-Erath, told The Advocate and Times-Picayune.

State law allows a majority in either legislative chamber to overturn the governor’s order and give that authority to local officials, according to a draft circulated by Rep. Alan Seabaugh, a Shreveport Republican.

Edwards had in recent weeks expressed optimism that Louisiana could begin a phased reopening of the economy on May 1, if it met criteria for cases, hospitalizations and other metrics laid out by the White House. He shared that goal with Republican lawmakers last week, according to Rep. Valarie Hodges, R-Denham Springs.

“He said, ‘We’re looking good.’ And that’s what I told my constituents.”

She learned that the order would be extended to May 15 about five minutes before Edwards made the announcement on television, Hodges said.

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