Sharon_Hewitt

State Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell

At a time when all of our state’s elected leaders are working overtime to find solutions to very serious problems, we hoped The Advocate would focus on informing the public. Instead, their editorial board used their time to levy, political attacks and cheap shots on the GOP-led Legislature. A recent newspaper editorial falsely suggested that the Legislature failed to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Fake news at its best.

As a deliberative body, the legislative process plays a critical role in how Louisiana functions. It’s a process centered on public input and concludes with a transparent, public vote.

Legislators arrived at the State Capitol with unprecedented momentum and determination. There is more unity between the House and Senate than ever before. Louisiana voters elected the most conservative Legislature in state history. The result is two chambers working together, and laser-focused on fixing the significant problems facing Louisiana families. This session was poised to be one of the most transformative ever.

Determined to get to work for the people, Senate President Page Cortez, of Lafayette, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, of Gonzales, took efforts to keep the legislative process moving for as long as possible.

That’s what the people deserve. With 13 presumptive positive cases reported in our state, three days after the first case was reported, extraordinary steps were taken by Cortez and Schexnayder to comply with the original CDC guidance. They hired a private cleaning firm to come in and sanitize the building and asked the State Fire Marshal staff to check temperatures for all that entered the building. Social distancing policies were put into place at the Capitol.

However, it became apparent on Monday after returning from the weekend, despite the increased precautions, continuing was not an option. Public input and transparency were not possible, and thus both chambers voted, nearly unanimously, to pause the legislative session and take a two-week recess. We know that when we return, Louisiana citizens will need our help more than ever. And we are committed to getting the people’s work done.

We will fight for the working families by passing a responsible, conservative budget that reflects our current realities. We will lower insurance rates for hard-working families. We will reform our broken legal system. These reforms that were essential weeks ago are now even more urgent. Louisiana cannot afford to wait until the “next” session to start turning around the direction of the state. Your legislators are going to hit the ground running - ready to work as long as it takes to help our people and heal our hurting state.

The stakes couldn’t be higher.

SHARON HEWITT

chairwoman, Senate Republican Caucus

Slidell

BLAKE MIGUEZ

chairman, House Republican Caucus

Lafayette

Our Views: The last institution to grasp the crisis was the Legislature