House Democrats officially asked Monday that Louisiana legislative Republican leaders to end the special session, arguing that little has been accomplished among the stated goals of shoring up the trust fund that pay unemployment benefits and helping people in south Louisiana recover from storm damage.

Instead, the GOP majority in the Legislature has focused on trimming Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ abilities to lead Louisiana through a pandemic of the highly contagious and often deadly COVID-19.

“This session is costing taxpayers more than $40,000 per day and will cost almost $2 million if we stay here until October 27th. Meanwhile, the legislative process has produced no major solutions to the problems brought to Louisiana by COVID-19 and Hurricanes Laura and Delta,” House Democratic Caucus Leader Sam Jenkins, of Shreveport, wrote House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, and Senate Page Cortez.

“There appear to be no new dollars we can appropriate to help struggling workers and small businesses. All indications are that no new federal stimulus is coming until after the election on Nov. 3rd,” Jenkins continued.

Republican members called the Legislature into a second special session on Sept. 28. It must end by 6 p.m. Oct. 27, a week from Tuesday.

Jenkins delivered the letter in person around lunchtime Monday. While the Democratic representatives and senators, alone, don’t have the numbers to close down the special session, they can stop or at least provide stumbling blocks for legislation the Republicans want.

Last week, Democratic House members said they could get behind legislation forwarded by Cortez, R-Lafayette, that would set up a commission to review a governor’s actions – such as calling for phases that allow more people to gather together at the same time – after 30 days. Senate Bill 29 has passed both chambers but have been in negotiations for more than week on provisions added on by House Republicans. A faction of House Republican House membership has advanced about eight bills that, using different tactics, would more harshly clip gubernatorial powers during a health crisis.

“We have had good, bipartisan discussions about how to improve the way the legislature and the governor can work in tandem to manage long-term emergencies. But those discussions have failed to produce a solution,” Jenkins wrote.

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