Per Legislators We’ve Talked To, Louisiana Is Reopening May 1

If this turns out to be true, it’s great news, obviously. And while we share the hesitation many of our readers who like us have lost faith in the political class to adequately manage much of anything and particularly economics and protection of civil liberties, what we’re hearing from multiple members of the Louisiana legislature is more or less a guarantee that May 1 is the date the state’s economy will become unfettered by John Bel Edwards’ economic lockdown.

On two separate occasions, we’ve been told, House Speaker Clay Schexnayder has passed along that guarantee he believes has come down from the governor.

Which means that if the state doesn’t actually reopen on May 1, it’ll be interesting to see what that does to Schexnayder’s credibility with members of the House Republican delegation he’s been telling this to. They’ve been mounting increasing pressure on Schexnayder to have the House take on a greater role in the state’s governance, particularly with Louisiana’s economy laying in abject ruins after more than a month of the shutdown and with tourism and oil and gas completely in the toilet. Toward that end, Schexnayder and Senate President Page Cortez put together a legislative task force on economic recovery last week which held its first (virtual) meeting this morning and will begin working on a package of recovery legislation it will recommend.

That obviously is only the start of what a lot of legislators want to do.

But there are a lot of mixed signals going around. Yesterday at the meeting of the Unified Command Group, Edwards’ executive counsel Matthew Block, we’re told, said the executive order establishing the current lockdown will be renewed when it expires April 30.

And then there was Edwards’ rather unclear message about the wearing of masks in public and whether that’s a recommendation or an attempt at a mandate.

Several legislators we talked to yesterday told us they were under the impression Edwards was going to try to mandate mask-wearing in public, something which will generate a huge amount of pushback, an almost sure lawsuit on constitutional grounds and probably a revolt of some kind by the legislature. But the governor’s messaging on the subject was very unclear…

“You will need to” sounds like a mandate. And when he starts talking about the “new normal” one would get the impression that he’s talking about a mandate – otherwise, John Bel Edwards has no ability to decide what the “new normal” is for the state of Louisiana. It’s questionable whether he can do that even with a mandate, since it’s very likely that question ends up in the courts if the legislature doesn’t settle it with lawmaking.

And even if there is a “reopening” on May 1, it’s probably prudent to manage your expectations as to what that will look like. Here’s what else Edwards said…

What all this means we have no idea. And the legislators we’ve talked to aren’t sure anybody will actually notice a difference on May 1.

But Schexnayder seems bullish on the state reopening on that date. Let’s hope Edwards has been telling him the truth and lying to the public in those fear-mongering press conferences.



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