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La. legislative leaders ask Gov. Edwards to cancel special session; ‘It’s too early,’ he replies

The La. Senate president and House speaker are asking Gov. John Bel Edwards to step back from his call for a special session.
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 10:16 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 10, 2022 at 3:49 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Senate president and House speaker are asking Gov. John Bel Edwards to step back from his call for a special session about redrawing Congressional District maps until the matter makes its way through the courts.

Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, and Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, issued the following joint statement on Friday, June 10:

“The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal has issued a stay of the June 6 district court’s ruling regarding congressional redistricting rendering the Governor’s proclamation calling and convening the Legislature into a special session unnecessary and premature. Until the courts have made a final determination on the congressional maps as they were passed by a super majority of the Legislature, we are asking the Governor to rescind his special session call. Before the judicial redistricting process is complete, any special session would be premature and a waste of taxpayer money.”

“It’s too early to cancel the special session,” Edwards replied.

Edwards sent a letter to Cortez and Schexnayder explaining why he feels it is premature to cancel. He wrote in part:

“I remain hopeful that the Fifth Circuit will vacate the administrative stay and allow Judge Dick’s well-reasoned decision and injunction to remain in place. I believe the legislature can and should meet next week to enact maps that create a second majority-minority district. Further, while I am mindful of the costs to the taxpayers as pointed out in your press release, it is clear that the state would have saved the unknown thousands of dollars being spent on out-of-state lawyers if the legislature had originally enacted maps that comply with the Voting Rights Act and the standard of fundamental fairness. It is not too late for the legislature to do the right thing. However, while I am Governor, I also remain an officer of the court, and I respect the Fifth Circuit’s authority over this matter. Should the Court retain a stay over Judge Dick’s decision, I agree that further action of the legislature should be delayed until the Fifth Circuit can review the merits of her decision.”

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

A federal judge ruled on June 6 that the Louisiana Legislature must redraw the maps by June 20 to include an additional majority-minority district. The day after the ruling, Gov. Edwards called for a special session to begin on June 15.

So far, the judge has refused to delay the order, saying a delay would cause substantial harm to voters. Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin has called the June 20 deadline “unworkable.”

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