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Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, speaks at a press conference along with Gov. John Bel Edwards, right, and LSU interim President Tom Galligan, left, after one of several roundtable discussions with LSU officials and others, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020 in the LSU Foundation Training Room.

As Republican legislators angle to take Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards down a couple of notches, a group headed by the aide who led his reelection campaign announced a six-figure television advertising campaign underlining how President Donald Trump’s White House supports the COVID-19 restrictions that the GOP majority find so dyspeptic.

A Stronger Louisiana’s first video ad highlights the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It features comments by Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Deborah Birx who praised the state’s response.

“We are in the midst of the worst pandemic this country has seen in more than 100 years,” said Richard Carbo, of A Stronger Louisiana. “State leaders have worked across the aisle to respond to this crisis and keep Louisianans safe. Despite those efforts, some legislators have worked to make things harder and put politics before protecting the people of the state.”

Carbo was manager of Edwards’ successful reelection campaign last year. But the 2019 elections also sent wave of Republicans, many very conservative and heavily supported by business and energy interests, into the Legislature. The GOP holds enough seats in the state Senate to override a gubernatorial veto and are two shy of the necessary two-thirds in the Louisiana House.

Republicans in the Louisiana House Friday approved eight proposals that would restrict or suspend emergency powers granted a governor, in this case the only blue splotch in 1,700-mile red blanket across the Deep South. GOP reps note that the eight measures make slightly different attacks on the same objective but only the variations that have the greatest support and are tactically viable will be pursued.

If the bill that would change law lands on Edwards’ desk and is vetoed, as presumably a measure ceding executive power to the legislative branch would be, the governor has 12 days after receiving the legislation to return his rejections and his reasons under Revised Statute 24:10(B). Legislators would want that veto message in hand while they are still in session, so they wouldn’t have to convene again to attempt an override.

The unscheduled session, specially called by the Republicans, began last Monday and must end by 6 p.m. Oct. 27.

A resolution would circumvent the governor’s desk but would only suspend a law – in this case the one that allows the governor to call an emergency – for a year or so. A constitutional amendment, which also doesn’t need the governor’s assent, would be a more permanent change, but requires two-thirds assent in both chambers as well as a majority of the state’s voters.

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