A bipartisan delegation of governors speak to the media outside of the White House in Washington, DC on December 4, 2012, after meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet discuss the actions needed to keep our economy growing and find a balanced approach to reduce our deficit. Pictured (l-r) Gary Herbert (R-UT), Mary Fallin (R-OK), Scott Walker (R-WI), Mike Beebe (D-AR) and Jack Markell (D-DE). UPI/Pete Marovich/Pool
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana House Republicans on Thursday started advancing multiple approaches to intervene in Gov. John Bel Edwards’ coronavirus decision-making, as disagreements emerge with the Senate on the best method of attack.
The House and Senate, in their first week of a monthlong special session, disagree over how far lawmakers should go and what’s within the limits of their constitutional authority.
Negotiations continue behind the scenes as lawmakers in the majority-Republican Legislature try to determine what can win support from both chambers — and what could get enough votes to either override Edwards’ veto or avoid the Democratic governor’s desk entirely.
The House and Governmental Affairs Committee backed bills that would require lawmakers to determine whether a governor can renew an emergency or disaster declaration after 30 days. The panel also approved a more immediate measure sponsored by House Speaker Clay Schexnayder that would jettison Edwards’ coronavirus orders for a month after the special session ends.
“It allows us to take a deep breath and see what direction we need to go in,” said Schexnayder, a Gonzales Republican.
The committee also advanced a proposal by Republican Senate President Page Cortez that received unanimous Senate support a day earlier, though some House Republicans suggested the measure does very little to address their complaints.
Cortez’s bill would require a governor to give legislative leaders advance notice and explanation when extending an emergency order — but doesn’t give lawmakers new avenues to revoke or stall the orders.
The proposals move to the full House for debate, with little clarity on what approach is gaining traction. Democrats oppose anything that would substantially chip away at Edwards’ authority.
“The governor has been well within his rights in declaring steps that we as a state need to take to protect one another,” said Rep. Candace Newell, a New Orleans Democrat.
Conservative Republicans angered by Edwards’ continued restrictions on businesses and activities want to scrap the governor’s coronavirus rules now.
“We believe in individual freedoms to wear a mask or not, to stay home or not, and the time has come. Seven months in, we feel it’s time to loosen up the reins,” said Rep. Dodie Horton, a Haughton Republican. She added later: “We want to be free again.”
Cortez and his bill cosponsor, Republican Sen. Patrick McMath of Covington, said going further than their proposal and trying to require legislative approval of a governor’s orders could violate the state constitution. They defended their measure against criticism that it’s window-dressing, not substance.
“Folks in my district aren’t going to love this. But it respects the separation of powers,” McMath said. “Oversight is incredibly powerful.”
Lawmakers complain they have been sidelined in the decision-making.
Edwards administration officials note the governor has loosened restrictions several times, most recently in mid-September. They say the rules are less restrictive than many other states with lower rates of virus infections and follow White House recommendations.
James Waskom, the governor’s homeland security director, cautioned that yanking the public health emergency
Two former Illinois governors who served time in federal prison have some unsolicited advice for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Former Gov. George Ryan, who served prison time for federal corruption charges, was the Speaker of the House before Madigan was elected speaker in 1983.
“I always got along with Mike and we worked together pretty much to get things done for the state and we worked together when I was speaker and when I was governor,” Ryan said in an interview. “Mike’s got his hands full, I think.”
Ryan, a Republican, is doing interviews promoting his book, “Until I Could Be Sure,” which focuses on his steps to stop the death penalty in Illinois in 1999 before being convicted and sentenced to prison for corruption in 2006.
The 86-year-old Ryan had a message for the 78-year-old Madigan about being in the scope of federal investigators.
“You know when the FBI puts their ‘x’ on you that they’re going to prosecute you, they’re only about 92 percent effective,” Ryan said. “They’re probably the most effective agency in government.”
“That’s always the best advice, be open and above board about everything,” Ryan said.
In late July on his podcast for WLS radio, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Madigan should be honest.
“If you’re not going to fight back and deny this stuff and tell the people who look to you as a major public official that not only did you not doing anything wrong but ‘I’m going to take the questions and answer specific allegations and I’ve got nothing to hide,’ unless you do that then you’re telling me you’re guilty,” Blagojevich said.
Blagojevich, a Democrat who calls himself a “Trumpocrat,” maintains his innocence of federal corruption charges despite serving years in prison, only to have his sentence commuted by President Donald Trump earlier this year.
The Speaker needs to come clean with the people of Illinois, Blagojevich said.
“We don’t have a government of the people, by the people and for the people,” Blagojevich said. “It is instead government of Mike Madigan, by Mike Madigan and for Mike Madigan.”
Madigan Friday declined to voluntarily testify in front of a House committee. Tuesday’s House hearing in Springfield won’t have any witnesses, according to chairman state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Hillside. It’s unclear if the committee will move to subpoena Madigan to testify, Madigan said Friday that he won’t appear before the committee.
Tags: States, News, Illinois, Death Penalty, Rod Blagojevich
Original Author: Greg Bishop, The Center Square
Original Location: Two former Illinois governors, now out of prison, have advice for House Speaker Michael Madigan
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (back to camera), Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and other sit together during the annual Governors Dinner in the East Room of the White House February 26, 2017 in Washington, DC. Part of the National Governors Association’s annual meeting in the nation’s capital, the black tie dinner and ball is the first formal event the Trumps will host at the White House since moving in last month. Pool photo by Chip Somodevilla/UPI
Over the last several weeks, President Donald Trump has approached the White House press podium with one resounding message: The coronavirus vaccine is just around the corner and it will soon make its way to Americans across the country.
But behind closed doors Trump’s closest advisers, including those officials working on the White House coronavirus task force, are increasingly concerned about public confidence in the vaccine process. Now, White House officials are leaning on the nation’s governors to help promote the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.
On a private call with governors Monday, Vice President Mike Pence and other top coronavirus task force officials—including Dr. Anthony Fauci and Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield—aired their fears about the declining public support for taking a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. And they explicitly asked governors to ignore the politics of the impending election when discussing COVID-19 vaccines, even as Trump himself does not.
“Look, I know we’re in an election season. But what I want to do is challenge you governors,” Pence said. “We are working around the clock to get a safe and effective vaccine available but we need… you to do your part to build public confidence that it will be a safe and effective vaccine. What we don’t want is people undermining confidence in the process.”
Redfield noted that while he is confident the American people will be able to access a vaccine by next spring, he is worried about the government’s ability to convince the public that that vaccine will be safe.
“We have vaccine hesitancy in this country that allows some schools to have only 30 or 40 percent of their children vaccinated against measles because they are so convinced the vaccine is harmful,” Redfield said. “So, our biggest challenge… is to build that culture of confidence. Once fear sets in, once doubt sets in, it is going to be very hard for us to reverse that.”
The worries stated on the call echo a deeper fear among scientists and other top officials working with the task force that the American public has lost trust in the nation’s top health agencies.
Part of that lack of confidence seems to stem from the president himself, who has in recent weeks promised the quick delivery of a vaccine. Trump more recently conceded that the American public can expect to access a vaccine by April next year, but he has also stated that the clinical trial data indicates that the U.S. will soon have a viable vaccine.
“He has all of his eggs in the vaccine basket,” said Elizabeth Neumann, a former top Department of Homeland Security official who worked on the office’s coronavirus response before she left the administration earlier this year. “He’s not interested in masks, or social distancing. He likes the quick easy fix. And anybody that looks at what it takes to deploy a vaccine and deliver a vaccine… it is not quick and easy by any stretch
WASHINGTON — The White House is urging U.S. governors to put politics aside and help the Trump administration promote future coronavirus vaccines as safe and effective.
Vice President Mike Pence urged governors Monday to use their bully pulpits and reassure the public that vaccines will be safe to take after a rigorous vetting process by the Food and Drug Administration.
“What we don’t want is people undermining confidence in the process,” Pence said in a private call with governors, the audio of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Trump has escalated his promise for a coronavirus vaccine before Election Day. But Democrats, independents and even some Republicans do not trust the Trump administration to produce a safe and effective vaccine on such an aggressive timeline.
Pence acknowledged the country is in the middle of a heated election season, but stressed that no corners would be cut in approving a vaccine and said his request for support was apolitical.
“I’m leaving the politics outside of the room here,” Pence said.
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK
— Analysis: U.S. to hit 200,000 dead; Trump sees no need for regret
— New Zealand to begin lifting all remaining coronavirus restrictions
Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s president, who has long called for a reform of the United Nations, said the world body has failed in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a televised address following a Cabinet meeting, Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the UN was late in “accepting the existence” of the pandemic and had failed to “make its presence felt” for nations requiring help to fight infections.
“The UN, which has fallen flat concerning crises from Syria to Yemen, as well as developments in fragile regions of Africa and South America, has also flunked during the pandemic,” he said.
His comments came as world leaders mark the 75th anniversary of UN General Assembly this week.
HARTFORD, Conn. — Spring break at Connecticut’s four state universities has been canceled and several public schools around the state were closed Monday because of the coronavirus.
State officials said they were canceling spring break next March to help ensure health and safety at Central Connecticut State University, Southern Connecticut State University, Western Connecticut State University and Eastern Connecticut State University.
Several public schools in Connecticut were closed Monday because of positive coronavirus tests, including in Hartford, Bridgeport and Weston.
Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes said Monday that she developed a fever since testing positive for the virus over the weekend, and her breathing is labored.
BOISE, Idaho — Idaho school districts vary widely when it comes to letting the public know about coronavirus cases in classrooms.
An investigation by the Idaho Statesman reveals that school districts across southwestern Idaho have wide-ranging levels of transparency when it comes to the number of COVID-19 cases in local schools. Some notify the public of each case in