BATON ROUGE, LA - Four weeks ago the Louisiana Legislature called itself into a special session for only the second time in Louisiana history. This decision was not one taken lightly, but the historic challenges faced by Louisianans across our great state demanded that we gather to make their voices heard.
Specifically, the Legislature called itself in to deal with four major issues:
- Hurricane recovery and K-12 educational issues
- Unemployment insurance trust fund
- Additional COVID-19 relief measures
- Separation of powers concerns regarding Governor Edwards continued restrictions of Louisiana's economy
In less than four weeks we were able to work together to address and pass pieces of legislation that dealt with each issue.
From the onset of COVID-19 until today, legislative leadership has continuously requested that Governor John Bel Edwards include the legislature in his decision-making process concerning Louisiana's response and his ongoing orders and proclamations implementing restrictions on the people and businesses of this state. The uniqueness of this pandemic and the significant impact of the response to our economy, schools and families required a collaborate approach that involved the input of many.
Over the course of the last four weeks, Speaker Schexnayder has worked with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass multiple bills pertaining to the current state of emergency and powers of a governor to continually restrict Louisiana’s people and its businesses. At no time since the start of the pandemic has the Governor taken meaningful steps to address legislative concerns in any substantive way. The Legislature will make no apologies for simply standing up for the people we collectively represent.
The House has exhausted every available legislative remedy and has been left with no other option but to exercise its legislative right to terminate the Governor’s emergency order.
We have been assured by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry that the House’s actions are lawful and constitutional and he is confident in his opinion. Today, the House of Representatives will formally file a petition to terminate the Governor’s continued emergency proclamations. In addition, we took strategic steps to pass legislation that would clear up any conflict with the interpretation of the Legislature’s involvement in the emergency order process and ensures the next time this type of situation occurs, a bipartisan and collaborate approach will be used to respond. That legislation currently sits on the Governor’s desk for approval.
Again, we are sent here to be a voice for the people and we will be heard.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the people and businesses in this state have learned how to safely live their lives and conduct business through social distancing, wearing masks, washing their hands and staying home if they are sick. We trust and encourage our residents to continue to take personal responsibility by taking the necessary actions to keep each other safe. It is time for Louisiana to begin to rebuild our economy and resume our way of life. We will continue to work collaboratively with other branches of government at the state and local level to get through this pandemic response and rebuild our economy. We continue to encourage local leaders to make the best decisions for the citizens in their own areas. The people of this state deserve nothing less than this type of approach and we are determined to give it to them.