BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Several bills dealing with legislative powers and emergency declarations were brought up in the House Committee on Governmental Affairs Thursday.
Republican leaders want to mandate oversight when it comes Governor John Bel Edwards declaring a state of emergency.
“You cross over to that side where he has the authority to put these executive orders out and we have, now we will potentially give ourselves the power to basically terminate them,” said State Senator Page Cortez.
Lawmakers said they want a seat at the table with bills aimed at rolling back orders on crowd sizes and mask mandates. They argue those mandates violate constitutional rights.
“You have a special session because we’re in the midst of seven months of people’s rights being taken away and hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, businesses closed. We need an answer now,” said former Louisiana House Member Woody Jenkins.
One bill would also allow restaurants and other businesses that sell alcohol to operate during an emergency declaration.
Those against the bills say the governor has already brought lawmakers into COVID-19 discussions.
They argue these new rules would cost too much time when emergencies need quick action.
Republicans insist they’re not stealing the governor’s power and that he can still declare new emergencies as they come.
Those bills now move to the House floor.