House, Senate diverge on curbing Louisiana governor’s power

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

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CCAGW PAC Endorses Four Louisiana House Candidates and Sen. Bill Cassidy

Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Political Action Committee (CCAGW PAC) announced its endorsement of Reps. Garret Graves (R-La.), Clay Higgins (R-La.), Mike Johnson (R-La.), and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) for re-election to the House of Representatives, and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) for re-election to the Senate.

CCAGW PAC based its endorsements on the candidates’ lifetime score in CCAGW’s 2019 Congressional Ratings.

Based on their exemplary lifetime ratings, all five representatives have earned lifetime “Taxpayer Hero” awards. Rep. Mike Johnson has a lifetime rating of 95 percent. Reps. Higgins has a lifetime rating of 93 percent as does Rep. Scalise, who also had a perfect 100 percent “Taxpayer Super Hero” rating in 2017. Reps. Graves has a lifetime rating of 90 percent. Sen. Cassidy has a lifetime rating of 81 percent, including a perfect 100 percent “Taxpayer Super Hero” rating in 2015.

“During their tenures in the House and Senate, Reps. Graves, Higgins, Johnson, and Scalise, and Sen. Cassidy have been strong and reliable votes to curb government waste and reform Washington,” said CCAGW PAC Chairman Tom Schatz. “On top of their impressive voting records, they worked with their colleagues to enact and retain historic tax cuts, support deregulation, and help ignite America’s economic boom. I urge the constituents of the five representatives to re-elect them to the House and all Louisianans to re-elect Sen. Cassidy to the Senate.”

CCAGW PAC is affiliated with the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, a 501(c)(4) organization. CCAGW PAC’s mission is to support political candidates who will fight to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in government and represent the best interests of taxpayers.

Paid for by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Political Action Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

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Alexandra Abrams (202) 467-5310
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Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen opens new restaurant in Dauphin County

Traffic may never be the same along Route 22 in Colonial Park.

That’s because Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen fans are clucking their way to the newest fast food restaurant in Dauphin County. Popeye’s arrived on Sept. 7 at 4601 Jonestown Road in Lower Paxton Township at the former Long John Silvers.

“This is good real estate,” said franchise partner Max Acharya. “This area in general – Lower Paxton and Colonial Park – needed a Popeyes.”

He wasn’t kidding. Cars have been lining up through the drive-through all week.

In fact, Acharya directs his customers, funneling them into one of two lines headed toward the drive-through. At times, the line backs into Jonestown Road but any traffic disruptions are quickly rectified by Acharya and his staff.


Lonely Monk Coffees roasts up new business in Cumberland County

This marks the first time Popeyes has opened a unit in the Harrisburg suburbs. One of the restaurants operates along North Cameron Street in the city. Acharya’s franchise group, PN Restaurants, operates the Cameron Street unit as well as Popeyes restaurants in Lebanon and York counties.

Popeyes has emerged in the past year as one of the nation’s top chain restaurants. Sales skyrocketed last summer when the chain introduced a new chicken sandwich, sparking a social media frenzy.

A week later, Popeyes started a viral feud with Chick-fil-A and other fast food restaurants over who serves the best chicken sandwich. Last fall the sandwich made a permanent return to the menu and continues to be a strong seller.

According to Restaurant Business, Dan According, CEO of Popeyes franchisee Carrols Restaurant Group in Syracuse, New York, said earlier this year the sandwiches attracted so many new customers, the chain is opening in new markets it never thought possible.

The new restaurant is open 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.

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