Sam Hanna Jr.

Gov. John Bel Edwards confirmed Monday what many of us feared when he turned his back on working people and small business owners and ordered Louisiana to remain on lock down until at least May 15.

In an instant at another one of those useless COVID-19 new conferences Edwards extended the proverbial middle finger to all who for weeks have wondered when they could possibly return to work to salvage what's left of their livelihoods. I suppose the more than 300,000 Louisianians who have been driven to the unemployment line in recent weeks should just say, “Thank you, governor. May I have another?”

Edwards' insistence that Louisiana had not made enough progress in turning the tide against the dreaded Chinese virus shouldn't have surprised anyone since the administration seems to be cherry-picking data to support its decision to keep us corralled. With all due respect to all involved in deciding when the lock down may or may not end, I don't believe a damn word they say.

On the same day that Edwards was reminding us he’s the “boss man” in these parts, Gov. Greg Abbott in Texas announced his state would reopen its economy Thursday. To all of our friends and neighbors in business who love to compare Louisiana to Texas and wonder when Louisiana might become more like Texas, here's your sign.

What's most alarming in all of this shutdown madness in Louisiana is the absence of any outrage among the state's residents, particularly small business owners who are dying economically. Nothing will change in Edwards’ world until working people and small business owners start raising hell, which might give lawmakers enough backbone to say enough is enough. Thus far, the Legislature — as a whole — has bowed down to Edwards as if he had been anointed dictator last fall in lieu of winning re-election by the thinnest of margins. Grow a set, boys!

Speaking of lawmakers, the Legislature is expected to resume the regular legislative session May 4. Since this year's regular session must adjourn sine die June 1, lawmakers only have a few weeks to piece together a budget based on nonexistent revenue projections. Seems like old times are here again.

The first order of business the Legislature should tackle when it resumes the regular session should be a vote to override Edwards' order to keep Louisiana locked up like a prison until the middle of May. It only takes a simple majority in the House or Senate to get it done. Then again, we must assume all of those business-minded Republicans who were elected last fall aren't afraid to tick off the governor.

In the meantime, go back work. Reopen your businesses. Ignore the governor if you want to.

Sam Hanna Jr. can be reached by phone at 318-805-8158 or e-mail at samhannajr@samhannajr.com.

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