Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sent an opinion in response to the Governor's latest COVID-19 proclamation that includes the statewide mask mandate. It was addressed to Republican members of the state legislature who have renewed their call to strip the Governor's power under the emergency declaration.

Landry called into UpClose with Bernadette Lee to explain his position in an exclusive interview. He also says singling out bars is not fair when there are other businesses allowed to be open that present the same risk for spreading the virus.

Landry's nine-page opinion says in part:

When the COVID-19 pandemic started the goal of government action was to ensure that our healthcare capacity to treat citizens was not overrun. Executive orders and mandates were put in place under our laws and constitution with that simple goal in mind. I supported those actions. To that end, we seem to have achieved that purpose. Today, I am concerned that additional restrictions are being placed on our citizens while we no longer have a set benchmark with which to measure our success.

You can CLICK HERE to read the full opinion.

And this is the response sent out by the Governor's office.

“If ever there were a time to put politics aside to govern, it is now when we are in the middle of a public health crisis that affects all Louisianans regardless of their beliefs or political affiliation. I wish Jeff Landry would listen to his own words from March 18 when he stood with me and said extraordinary measures were necessary to protect the people of our state during this COVID-19 crisis, encouraged Louisianans to follow my directives and said he was united with me in protecting the health and safety of the people of our state. I’m not sure what has changed since then, aside from the loss of 3,300 additional lives and more than 80,000 additional Louisianans becoming infected."

"Louisiana continues to follow guidance from the White House and, just yesterday, I hosted Vice President Mike Pence and members of the federal White House Coronavirus Task Force in Louisiana, which is considered by the federal government to be in the ‘red zone’ for new cases. Vice President Pence said he agreed with the steps I have taken in Louisiana and encouraged our people to wear masks and abide by my reasonable regulations. In fact, on Monday’s White House call with governors, Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the federal coronavirus response, singled out my actions, including the mask mandate, as a ‘best practice’ for states with rising cases."

"Last week, Louisiana had 243 new cases per 100,000 people, whereas across the country, the average was only 119 new cases per 100,000 people. We clearly have a COVID-19 problem in Louisiana and I will not let our state go back to a time when we risked being able to provide health care for our people, which also would put our economy in peril, despite what the Attorney General may want.”