BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)— Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is calling Attorney General Jeff Landry’s efforts to withhold funding from New Orleans and Orleans Parish due to abortion ban enforcement ‘misguided’.
On Tuesday, Landry, who is at the center of the ongoing lawsuit challenging the state’s trigger laws, sent a letter to the Louisiana Treasurer and his fellow Bond Commission Members to delay any applications and funding for the city until its officials have affirmed they will enforce State laws. The commission then moved forward with Landry’s reccomendations on Thursday.
“The officials in New Orleans took an oath of office to support and enforce the laws of our State, yet they appear to have decided that some laws are not worthy of enforcement. Nothing in the statutes, the City Charter, or the State Constitution permits these officials to blatantly ignore State law, conspire not to enforce it, and violate their oaths of office in this manner. In fact, our State Constitution prohibits this very conduct,” Landry said in a statement.
According to the Bond Commission website, the decision will delay a $39 million infrastructure project that would build a new Sewerage and Water Board power plant in the Crescent City.
Following the commission’s decision, Mayor LaToya Cantrell expressed her disappointment, saying:
“What also remains is the fact that we are in the middle of another above-average hurricane season, in which this city needs its entire Sewerage and Water Board system performing at its peak in order to protect vital assets, businesses and residents from flooding. I encourage our business leaders who rely on our partnership with the state to lend their voices and call on the Bond Commission to give us our fair share. Regardless of the outcome, my administration will continue to prioritize the needs of our residents, which includes improving our aging infrastructure, strengthening our resiliency as a city, and protecting the reproductive rights of women throughout the City New Orleans.”
Throughout the last several weeks, New Orleans city leaders including Cantrell, Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson, and council president Helena Moreno have been outspoken on the city working to decriminalize Louisiana abortion laws after a New Orleans judge lifted a temporary block on the state’s abortion ban. This included a resolution that would prohibit the use of public funding and resources to investigate and prosecute those who receive or provide abortions, except when the abortion in question relates to different crime such as rape. That resolution was passed on July 7.
During a Tuesday briefing Edwards said he also received a copy of the letter and that people not responsible for enforcing the abortion ban would be impacted if funds were withheld.
“The idea that you seek to punish all the people living in a certain area because you are at odds with some of their elected officials is not a reasonable approach,” said Edwards.