House takes initial step in attempt to curb Governor Edwards' power amid pandemic
BATON ROUGE - Republican lawmakers, outspokenly dissatisfied with Governor John Bel Edwards' handling of the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic, took the first step towards enacting a law that would limit the Governor's power during the pandemic on Friday.
Associated Press reporter, Melinda Deslatte tweeted that during a special session of Louisiana's legislature, the House voted, 68-22, to back House Speaker Clay Schexnayder's move to suspend the Governor's COVID-19 executive orders through 30 days after the special session ends.
With 68-22 vote, House backs legislation by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder to suspend the governor's COVID-19 executive orders through 30 days after the special session ends. Moves next to Senate for debate. Would NOT go to the governor's desk if Senate agrees. #lalege #lagov— Melinda Deslatte (@MelindaDeslatte) October 2, 2020
The would-be law must next be debated by the Senate.
While republican lawmakers remain adamant that Governor Edwards' statewide mask mandate violates personal freedom and that COVID restrictions in certain businesses are harming the state's economy, Democrats are hesitant to agree to anything that would reduce Governor Edwards' authority.
The Associated Press reported that Rep. Candace Newell, a New Orleans Democrat, said, “The governor has been well within his rights in declaring steps that we as a state need to take to protect one another.”
Democrats are pointing to statistics that show masks are effective in protecting individuals from contracting the often-deadly virus and to numbers that seem to prove restrictions on businesses, though challenging to employers and jobless individuals, will have a positive impact on the community in the long-run, because the regulations are designed to keep people alive and healthy.
On Monday, Senator Cleo Fields spoke with WBRZ, saying, "We have to do something, but just willy nilly, taking away the governor's power in a state of emergency is perhaps not the right thing."
Deslatte reported that if the Senate supports Schexnayder's legislation, it would not go to the Governor's desk for approval.