Limits on virus mitigation efforts advance in Legislature

April 26, 2022 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Bills to limit actions state and local governments can take to control COVID-19 continue to advance in the 2022 legislative session.

The full House voted 70-28 on Tuesday for a bill by Metairie Republican Stephanie Hilferty that would exempt state-owned buildings — such as the Superdome in New Orleans — from local government emergency provisions.

The vote on Hilferty’s bill came one day after the House passed a bill that would let a majority vote in either the House or Senate end or alter a governor’s emergency proclamation, even if the other house fails to do so.

Meanwhile, pending in the state Senate, is a recently passed House resolution to remove COVID-19 vaccines from the list of those required to attend Louisiana schools. The proposal would repeal a state health department rule backed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. As a resolution, it would not be subject to a governor’s veto.

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The resolution was approved 69-33 last week by the full House and is awaiting a Senate committee hearing.

The bills come after nearly two years of periodic political conflict between lawmakers in the Republican-led House and Senate and the Democratic governor over mask mandates, restrictions on gatherings, and other mitigation efforts that have now expired. Other legislation could limit or prohibit vaccination mandates by governments or businesses.