NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - While Louisianans across the state worked together to flatten the curve of coronavirus, it’s now reached a tipping point as divisive politics were at play again in Baton Rouge.
“I’ve been advocating since day one to look at a parish by parish, region by region approach and how we handle this issue,” Rep. Blake Miguez said.
Rep. Miguez sponsored the resolution that would block the governor’s ability to enforce his emergency order, passing 9 to 7 in committee, and now heads to the House floor.
But it did not come without hours of testimony from both legislators and the governor’s office pushing back against the measure citing public health.
Representatives in favor say they’ve done what the governor set out to accomplish, and the time’s come to work on reopening the economy.
“The biggest mistake would be open prematurely of the state and we have some resurgence of this virus,” Rep. Sam Jenkins said
“If this were to pass, you’re going to have mass confusion on the local level as to even with an a parish,” Matthew Block, the Governor’s executive council said.
“The President has given the power to the Governor, now we need the governor to give the power to the locals… I don’t think we can wait another day,” Rep. Dodie Horton said.
“What we’re seeing around the country is protest to the stay at home order in Louisiana that’s manifesting itself in a group of legislators each chamber trying to push back on the governor’s emergency authority,” Fox 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said.
Sherman says pushing back against the governor’s orders is not unique to Louisiana, but if legislators succeed, he says it could cost the state in federal funds.
“Partisanship is often on display in Baton Rouge we haven’t seen it the first month and a half of this crisis, but we’re starting to see cracks emerge in the stay at home order, it’s clearly the issue those cracks are getting wider and wider, I think we’re approaching a climax at some point unless the state starts to reopen at a quicker pace,” Sherman said.
While the resolution aims to quickly reopen the state, the governor said he’ll remain steadfast in his decision making before moving the state to phase one.
“I will be focused on my job which is doing exactly what I’ve been telling you off from the beginning and that is presiding over this public health emergency in a way that maintains best we can the balance that we need to strike between public health and our economy,” Edwards said.
The resolution urges parish and local leaders to follow federal guidelines in reopening if powers were removed from the governor.
If approved by the house, the resolution would still need to pass the senate.
The governor’s stay at home orders are in effect until May 15th.