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Louisiana Republicans say they have enough signatures to suspend COVID-19 emergency order

(The Center Square) – Republicans in the Louisiana House of Representatives say they have gathered enough signatures to suspend Gov. John Bel Edwards’ COVID-19 emergency declaration for seven days.

The statute giving either chamber of the Legislature the right to end an emergency order has not been tested in court; that is likely to change soon.

Republicans have complained about the repeated renewals of orders imposing mandates meant to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, citing the economic and social costs, and their lack of input into those decisions.

“When any emergency process lasts this long, the public deserves transparency,” House Republican Delegation Chairman Blake Miguez said. “The governor should be providing more information and data, not more mandates and restrictions.”

Edwards said Friday afternoon that he has not yet seen the petition but called it reckless, irresponsible and unconscionable.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Sam Jenkins called the move “dangerous, reckless and short-sighted.”

“If this petition successfully ends Governor Edwards’ emergency order, 4.5 million Louisianans will needlessly face additional risk of catching COVID and experiencing dire consequences, including death,” he said. “If this petition is successful, Louisiana risks losing billions of dollars in federal funding, free community COVID testing, access to PPE, food banks and other crucial lifelines our people are depending on in the midst of this global pandemic and in the fallout of multiple severe hurricanes.”

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