Louisiana Lawmakers Move to Suspend Governor’s Emergency Powers

May 4, 2020, 5:36 PM

Louisiana’s governor could be temporarily stripped of his power to declare a public health emergency under a measure filed Monday by the Republican leader of the state House of Representatives.

Rep. Blake Miguez is among the GOP legislators who criticized Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) for extending a statewide stay-at-home order through May 15. He filed a resolution (HCR 58) that would suspend Edwards’ authority to declare an emergency related to Covid-19 for 15 days.

“A single, statewide universal order limits the responsibilities and powers of mayors and parish presidents in areas that otherwise might contemplate the reopening process,” the resolution says.

It blames the current 13% unemployment rate and economic losses on restrictions imposed by Edwards to restrain the spread of the coronavirus.

The state House and Governmental Affairs Committee will consider the resolution on Wednesday.

Miguez was one of 78 House members, out of 104, who showed up Monday when the Louisiana Legislature reconvened. Some lawmakers wore masks, and they sat between plastic partitions installed at each seat on the House floor.

State House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R) said each member received a black ribbon in memory of state Rep. Reggie Bagala (R), who died from Covid-19 in early April.

“We have work to do and we can’t wait any longer,” Schexnayder said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Kay in Miami at jkay@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com; Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com

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