Gov. Edwards urges southeast La. to prepare for winds from Zeta; lawsuit filed in defense of public health emergency

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards talks about Hurricane Delta damages before flying to southwest...
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards talks about Hurricane Delta damages before flying to southwest Louisiana Saturday Oct. 10, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. (Bill Feig/The Advocate via AP, Pool)(STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG | AP)
Updated: Oct. 26, 2020 at 6:11 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards said the state is preparing for impacts from Hurricane Zeta, which will likely make landfall in the southeastern part of the state Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Gov. Edwards says the biggest threat from Zeta appears to be from hurricane-force winds. Forecasters anticipate about two to four inches of rainfall across the state from Zeta, but the governor said rainfall totals could be higher in certain areas.

The governor said his administration is currently coordinating with local officials in southeast Louisiana to prepare for the storm.

Visit the Hurricane Center to track Zeta in real-time with Doppler radar

See the governor’s full comments in the video below.

Gov. Edwards has already declared a state of emergency ahead of Zeta, the eighth emergency declaration he has signed this year. He urged residents to pay close attention to Zeta’s forecast and continue to practice COVID-19 prevention measures.

The governor also announced his administration has filed a lawsuit in the state’s 19th Judicial District Court in defense of his COVID-19 public health emergency proclamation.

A group of 64 Republican House legislators signed a petition Friday, Oct. 23 that overturns his COVID-19 restrictions, including his statewide mask mandate.

Gov. Edwards claims the petition is unconstitutional because one chamber of the legislature cannot overturn a public health emergency declared by the governor.

He also says he is not currently violating any laws because he cannot violate a law that is unconstitutional.

“In addition to the fact that getting rid of the mitigation measures that have proven to slow the spread of COVID and save lives is reckless and dangerous, the law being used is blatantly unconstitutional. Louisiana’s Constitution doesn’t allow only one chamber of the Legislature to overturn a public health emergency, and, even if it did, the petitioners did not properly consult the public health experts from the Louisiana Department of Health,” Gov. Edwards said. “Multiple people – including the author of the Legislature’s petition and many of its signers – have acknowledged the law’s unconstitutionality in both public and private conservations. It’s frankly sad and counterproductive to have to take this legal action as we are also responding not only to a pandemic but also recovering from two serious hurricanes and preparing for the possibility of another. I am incredibly disappointed that at a time when Louisianans need to be coming together to protect each other from this virus, some legislators and the Attorney General are instead playing politics with people’s lives. Louisiana remains in Phase 3, our successful mitigation measures remain in place, and I will continue to work with public health officials and experts to make decisions based on sound science and data.”

To read the lawsuit filed by the governor’s administration, click here.

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