Bill proposing to limit governor’s emergency declarations advances

Some Louisiana lawmakers want to limit emergency declarations from the governor as we saw enacted during the pandemic.
Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Now that Louisiana is seemingly on the other side of a public health emergency, some lawmakers looking back believe the governor made too many decisions without hearing from state leaders, especially when it comes to emergency declarations, like mask mandates.

Some Louisiana lawmakers want to limit emergency declarations from the governor as we saw enacted during the pandemic. State Rep. Larry Frieman (R - Abita Springs) wants to give lawmakers more authority to end parts of a governor’s emergency executive order.

“Either chamber of the legislature can find an emergency rule unacceptable, and that emergency rule, and I quote, shall be nullified and shall be without effect,” Rep. Frieman said.

Like last year’s bill that was vetoed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, the bill allows either of the other two branches of government to throw out any section or subsection of the declaration they deem to be unnecessary. They would need a majority vote and consultation with a public health specialist that has a special degree in public health.

“Does that mean, you know, you sit down and have a conversation with somebody at a coffee shop?” State Rep. Royce Duplessis (D -New Orleans) asked.

“I didn’t want to make it very specific because depending on the type of emergency we may have, we may have to do it via Zoom, maybe it’s a small group that then reports back to the entire House...there’s a lot of ways to consult with,” Rep. Frieman replied.

Those on the committee who were against the idea said they were worried this would affect our ability to receive federal emergency funds down the road.

“You know, they’re looking to the governor and his staff to carry out a certain plan. I mean, if we are coming behind that and creating some uncertainty, would that not affect federal dollars we need them to come out with?” State Rep. Sam Jenkins (D - Shreveport) asked.

“The statute that I’m asking to be put in would dramatically reduce that possibility because we would not have to end the emergency order itself. We would just go in and take out pieces of the subparts of it if we choose to,” Rep. Frieman answered.

Any petitions to remove mandate language would be made public. If this bill is signed into law, it would not go into effect until 2024 when Louisiana’s next governor takes office.

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