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Gov. Edwards responds to AG Landry opinion on mask mandate

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Posted at 3:12 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-15 16:21:48-04

Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued a statement responding to Attorney General Jeff Landry's opinion over the recent statewide mask mandate.

In a release from the governor's office, Edwards calls Landry's opinion "politically motivated."

The release also states that the governor's proclamation, 89 JBE 2020, was issued to protect the people of Louisiana from the spread of COVID-19, which has tragically killed 3,351 Louisianans and infected a total of 84,131.

Here is the full statement from Edwards:

If ever there were a time to put politics aside to govern, it is now when we are in the middle of a public health crisis that affects all Louisianans regardless of their beliefs or political affiliation. I wish Jeff Landry would listen to his own words from March 18 when he stood with me and said extraordinary measures were necessary to protect the people of our state during this COVID-19 crisis, encouraged Louisianans to follow my directives and said he was united with me in protecting the health and safety of the people of our state. I’m not sure what has changed since then, aside from the loss of 3,300 additional lives and more than 80,000 additional Louisianans becoming infected.

Louisiana continues to follow guidance from the White House and, just yesterday, I hosted Vice President Mike Pence and members of the federal White House Coronavirus Task Force in Louisiana, which is considered by the federal government to be in the ‘red zone’ for new cases. Vice President Pence said he agreed with the steps I have taken in Louisiana and encouraged our people to wear masks and abide by my reasonable regulations. In fact, on Monday’s White House call with governors, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the federal coronavirus response, singled out my actions, including the mask mandate, as a ‘best practice’ for states with rising cases.

Last week, Louisiana had 243 new cases per 100,000 people, whereas across the country, the average was only 119 new cases per 100,000 people. We clearly have a COVID-19 problem in Louisiana and I will not let our state go back to a time when we risked being able to provide health care for our people, which also would put our economy in peril, despite what the Attorney General may want.

Landry issued an official opinion on the governor's mask mandate on Wednesday that said it does not pass the constitutional test.

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