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La. lawmakers petition to end COVID-19 restrictions; Gov. Edwards calls move ‘reckless, irresponsible, and unconscionable’

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to reporters at a briefing on the state's efforts...
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to reporters at a briefing on the state's efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, May 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)(Gerald Herbert | AP)
Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 2:44 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - House Republican lawmakers are invoking state rules that could allow them to put an end to Louisiana’s COVID-19 restrictions imposed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, at least temporarily.

Gov. Edwards called the petition “reckless, irresponsible, and unconscionable” during a firey news conference Friday, Oct. 23. He also questioned the constitutionality of the petition and credited his restrictions for the plateau in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since July.

The rule allows lawmakers to end a state of public health emergency at any time through a petition signed by a majority of members in either the state’s House or Senate. The rule also allows lawmakers to establish a period during which no other declaration of public health emergency can be issued.

RELATED: Louisiana lawmakers end special session

A petition currently circulating among House Republicans would suspend the governor’s ability to issue emergency rules for a week, if successful. It is set to be delivered to his office later Friday, reports say.

The petition is the latest attempt taken by lawmakers to chip away at the governor’s ability to enforce restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

Lawmakers argue those restrictions continue to cripple the state’s economy and pushed through legislation to limit Edwards' power during a special session. That legislation however heads to the governor’s desk, at which point he can choose to veto it.

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