Louisiana COVID-19 special session opens with power debate

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Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, center, gestures as he talks with Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, left, the governor’s chief budget adviser, and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, right, on Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. The three men, all members of the Revenue Estimating Conference, spoke ahead of the conference’s meeting. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana legislators are back in Baton Rouge for a special session focused on the coronavirus outbreak.

The gathering that convened Monday is happening amid deepening rifts between Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican lawmakers over the appropriate response to the pandemic.

The 30-day special session was called by Republican lawmakers without consultation from the Democratic governor, who had no sway over the 70-item agenda. On the agenda are everything from Hurricane Laura response and changes to coronavirus regulations to budget discussions and issues specific to individual parishes.

Top of the agenda is a push by GOP legislators to try to scale back the governor’s emergency powers.

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