Louisiana attorney general takes governor to court to block COVID vaccine school mandate
Republican Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and a Bossier City lawmaker have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards from adding the COVID-19 vaccines to the required list of school shots.
Landry and Republican state Rep. Raymond Crews filed the lawsuit in Baton Rouge's 19th Judicial District Court.
Edwards overturned a House committee's bipartisan vote last week that would have kept the Louisiana Department of Health from adding the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of required shots beginning next school year.
The attorney general and Crews assert the laws on the books giving Edwards that authority are unconstitutional. Lawmakers have no mechanism to reverse Edwards' decision unless they take him to court.
“The Louisiana Constitution grants the governor the power only to enforce the law, not to make it," the lawsuit reads. “The Legislature cannot delegate its authority to the governor with no clawback or legislative oversight."
But Edwards' office said the governor is on firm legal ground and Edwards said Wednesday it was "an easy call" to add the vaccine for schoolchildren.
Louisiana and California are the only two states to mandate the vaccine for school children, according to testimony in last week's Louisiana Health and Welfare Committee hearing.
Though Edwards' action adds COVID vaccines to the required list beginning next school year, parents can opt out by signing and submitting a form to their schools as they can for other required immunizations like polio and measles.
Edwards said his decision "will save lives and will help Louisiana to emerge from this pandemic."
The addition of the COVID-19 vaccine to required school shots which would currently only cover students 16 and older but would expand as the vaccines get the highest level of approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Association.
Greg Hilburn covers Louisiana politics for the USA Today Network. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.