After a grueling five hours of debate, a committee that is part of the Louisiana House of Representatives votes to approve a measure that would weaken Gov. John Bel Edwards’ “stay at home” order designed to help slow the spread of the potentially deadly coronavirus.
It’s important to note that nothing actually changes right now, but this measure will head to the full House for discussion and possible vote.
Here’s more information from the Washington Examiner:
Edwards, a Democrat, indicated in April that Louisiana was on pace to begin lifting many of the restrictions imposed to control the spread of the new coronavirus by the time his “stay at home” order expired at the end of the month. Instead, he extended it two more weeks, citing public health concerns such as rising numbers of cases in certain regions.
Rep. Blake Miguez, who leads the Republican delegation in the state House of Representatives, authored the resolution. He supports a regional or parish-by-parish approach to fully reopening aspects of the state’s economy currently closed or limited as part of the pandemic response.Trending:
His original measure called for suspending the governor’s authority to declare a public health emergency related to the new coronavirus. Miguez decided to narrow the focus to address concerns that revoking the emergency order would cost Louisiana federal funding and effectively shut down the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, though some Republicans said they preferred the broader version.
The new amended version of the measure is designed to weaken some of the enforcement power the executive branch of the state currently holds in regards to the stay-at-home order. If this were to be passed, those who violate the current orders would not face criminal penalties. However, the Department of Health and the State Fire Marshall would retain power to revoke business permits.
“We’re taking the teeth out of his stay-at-home order,” Miguez stated to the media. “Many parishes in this state are ready to open up.”
No matter which way you slice the cheese, it’s time to acknowledge that we must be working toward opening up the economy, which needs to happen sooner rather than later. A possible economic collapse is far more dangerous to people at this point than the virus.
Here’s to hoping Louisiana gets back on its feet soon.