The action expected on Friday comes after lawmakers closed a special session seeking more power over the Democratic governor’s emergency measures.
BATON ROUGE, La. – “I don’t apologize to anyone for the decisions I have made,” said Governor John Bel Edwards Friday afternoon during a passionate response to the Republican legislature’s petition at Louisiana House urging him to lift his executive action against COVID-19 for one week. These include the gradual reopening and the nationwide mask mandate.
“You are pretending that this public health emergency is over and we actually have a public health emergency,” Edwards said.
Edwards says the petition is a move that could effectively end the COVID-19 public health emergency and put federal money and state aid to local governments at risk.
“It’s reckless and irresponsible and irresponsible,” Edwards said.
The move is coming as spikes in new coronavirus cases appear across the county. Thankfully, Edwards says Louisiana is doing better than the neighboring states, but things can change. As of Friday afternoon, there were nearly 179,000 coronavirus cases in Louisiana and only more than 5,600 deaths.
“What we are seeing now in our climate today is hyper-party polarization,” said Anna Mahoney, administrative assistant for women’s political leadership at Tulane University’s Newcomb Institute.
Mahoney says a politically divided state government mixed with different views on solving problems leads to a showdown.
“COVID itself is a major economic and health crisis, and it is an opportunity for these two different policy perspectives to overlap,” Mahoney said.
Currently, phase three restrictions allow most businesses to achieve 75 percent utilization with the required social distancing. Edwards says he is unwilling to maintain these guidelines and mask mandate.
“The mitigation measures are working in Louisiana,” Edwards said.
On Friday afternoon, Edwards said he hadn’t seen the full petition. Since it is not a bill, he cannot veto and is expected to go to court. We have turned to the management of the House about this petition, but have received no response.