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Today In The Louisiana Legislature: Stay-At-Home Order, Car Insurance and More

A protester's discarded sign after H&GA voted to advance HCR58
Paul Braun
A protester's discarded sign after H&GA voted to advance HCR58

HCR 58

The House and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced a measure Wednesday that would suspend Gov. John Bel Edwards’ ability to enforce his statewide stay-at-home order, indicating the widening divide between conservative state lawmakers and the Democratic governor over when to reopen the economy.

Read our full report on the meeting here.

Car Insurance

The Republican-controlled Senate Insurance Committee three Edwards-backed bills aimed at reducing car insurance premiums.

All four were sponsored by Sen. Jay Luneau (D-Alexandria). They would have prohibited insurance companies from raising rates based on a driver’s gender, credit score, if their spouse died or if they were deployed for military service.

Before the coronavirus outbreak reached Louisiana, “tort reform” was poised to be the most hotly debated topic of this year’s legislative session. Conservative state lawmakers said it was their highest priority and heralded it as the silver bullet to reduce Louisiana’s second-highest-in-the-nation car insurance premiums.

Gov. Edwards, and the trial lawyers who largely funded his reelection campaign, said it was just an attempt for businesses to make it harder for Louisianans injured in car accidents to seek damages in court.

Graves Reopening Comments

U.S. Representative Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge) took to the airwaves Wednesday to question Gov. Edwards’ motivativation to extend the statewide stay-at-home order through May 15.

“I think this is an effort to intentionally stall the economy, which undermines the president’s efforts in the reelection,” Graves told Talk 107.3’s Brian Haldane.

“The governor fudged the numbers,” Graves added. “There is no reason why the entire state of Louisiana should be shut down right now. Should specific parishes? Absolutely; but this is politics being played, and unfortunately it’s being played right here at home.”

Graves’ comments are at odds with what Edwards and President Trump have said in recent days. The Democratic governor and Republican president have had a harmonious working relationship since the start of the public health crisis, and last week Trump heaped praise on Edwards during an appearance on the Moon Griffon Radio Show.

Here’s a link to the full conversation on Talk 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge.

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Paul Braun was WRKF's Capitol Access reporter, from 2019 through 2023.