Louisiana’s Constitutional Crisis

By Scott McKay 10/27/20

Governor Edwards
On Friday, amid all the clamor over the presidential election and other national doings, an interesting thing happened as the Louisiana Legislature wrapped up a four-week special session billed as an attempt to relieve some of the state’s many economic woes.

Namely, the House made use of a statutory remedy to cancel Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards’ public health emergency.

And in so doing, the House members set the stage for one of America’s more interesting state-level constitutional crises in recent history. 

The Louisiana law that sets up the power for a governor to declare a public health emergency is found in Title 29, Section 766 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes. But in Section 768 of Title 29, there’s a provision for the termination of such an emergency. It reads, 

§768.  Termination of declaration of public health emergency

A.  The state of public health emergency shall continue until the governor finds that the threat of danger has passed or the disaster or emergency has been dealt with to the extent that the emergency conditions no longer exist and terminates the state of public health or emergency by executive order or proclamation, but no state of public health emergency may continue for longer than thirty days unless renewed by the governor.

B.  The legislature, in consultation with the public health authority, by a petition signed by a majority of the surviving members of either house, may terminate a state of public health emergency at any time. This petition terminating the public health emergency may establish a period during which no other declaration of public health emergency may be issued. Thereupon, the governor shall issue an executive order or proclamation ending the state of public health or emergency.

Edwards’ emergency declaration was filed in March, and seven months later Louisiana’s economy is a complete shambles.... To read full article, click here.