NewsCovering Louisiana


Legislators begin special session tackling coronavirus and emergency powers

Posted at 10:58 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 23:58:20-04

BATON ROUGE — The second special session of the Louisiana legislature is underway.

It is expected to address a number of issues, including the state's recovery from Hurricane Laura and the ongoing economic issues involved with the pandemic.

Perhaps the most controversial issue to be addressed this session is the governor's authority during the pandemic. Republicans have filed seven bill to strip the governor of his emergency powers. Democrats argue that now is not the time.

"If you take his authority away who's going to be overseeing that? Us as legislators, we are part time, we're not here every day. You can't oversee the day-to-day operations to make sure things are functioning right and how people are
served," Rep. Dustin Miller of Opelousas said

Miller, a Democrat, says he has confidence in the governor, who has been working with the White House Coronavirus Taskforce on the state's re-opening plan. On the other side of the aisle, Republicans say lawmakers should have more of a say.

"I think that would be better served with that on the executive powers as well as having legislators at the table to be able to discuss these things that all of our constituents are concerned about," House Speaker Clay Schexnayder said.

Schexnayder along with Senate President Page Cortez are among lawmakers looking to limit the governor's authority.

"What my bill will do is basically create a committee of the legislative leaders to be informed. Sure, the governor wants to extend it beyond the 30 days. To explain to them the "why" behind extending it and to explain how he or she would envision it
ending," Cortez said.

In the end, it will come down to compromise.

"None of us is going to get exactly what we want but if we work together to get our citizens in our people of Louisiana the majority of the things they want and try to get business is back open safely then i will be very happy that we can leave out of the session accomplishing those goals," Miller said.

The session will resume Tuesday evening. It must adjourn by October 27, 2020.
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