April 2020 Coronavirus Update
Republican attorneys general (AGs) continue to lead the country in the fight against the coronavirus crisis. In April, the Republican AGs of Missouri and Mississippi became the first in the nation to file lawsuits against China, holding the communist state accountable for massive economic destruction and loss of life caused by their deceitful handling of the outbreak of the pandemic. In addition, unlike their Democrat counterparts who continue to ignore the constitution, Republican AGs are dedicating their time to defending civil liberties including religious freedom. The AGs continue to work hard to keep small businesses open and protect consumers from scams and price gouging by creating effective private-public partnerships and collaborating with the federal government.
Read the March 2020 coronavirus update here.
Republican AGs First to Hold China Accountable
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed the first lawsuit against China on April 21 citing a “campaign of deceit” on the part of the Chinese related to the outbreak of the pandemic. In addition, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced her decision to also file a lawsuit holding China accountable.
WALL STREET JOURNAL: Lawsuits Target China for Coronavirus Damage. “COVID-19 has done irreparable damage to countries across the globe, causing sickness, death, economic disruption, and human suffering,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt said in a statement, adding that Chinese leaders “must be held accountable for their actions.”
USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Missouri becomes first state to sue China over ‘an appalling campaign of deceit.’ Missouri became the first state to sue the Chinese government, citing “an appalling campaign of deceit” related to the coronavirus pandemic. The civil lawsuit was filed in federal court by GOP state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, claiming Chinese officials are “responsible for the enormous death, suffering, and economic losses they inflicted on the world, including Missourians.”
THE HILL: Mississippi to sue China over response to coronavirus outbreak. In a statement announcing her plans, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said that “too many Mississippians have suffered as a result of China’s cover-up. They must not be allowed to act with impunity,” she continued. “Mississippians deserve justice and I will seek that in court.”
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch joined Fox & Friends to announce her decision to file a lawsuit against the communist state.
FOX NEWS: Mississippi AG on China lawsuit: Beijing ‘cannot continue to deceive and take advantage of America.’ “The coronavirus has killed. The coronavirus has caused serious medical damage and harm across our country, our state. It’s destroyed our businesses, and it’s functionally altered the way Americans will live,” Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said. “We have to rebuild. … We see the damages, the issues that they [China] have caused Mississippians. So I’m bringing the suit on behalf of Mississippians.”
Additional coverage of the unprecedented lawsuit include: Washington Post,
CNN, CBS, NBC, Forbes, Newsweek, National Review, TIME, Daily Signal, New York Post, Breitbart, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, AP, Reuters, The New York Times.
Republican AGs Provide Information to Americans on National Shows
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined Fox & Friends to discuss how Texas is handling COVID-19 and working with state partners to combat the pandemic.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined Fox & Friends Weekend to discuss Louisiana’s partnerships as COVID-19 spreads and social distancing guidelines.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron spoke with Good Morning America about Kentucky’s investigation into pop-up coronavirus testing sites.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody joined the Fox News Rundown Podcast to discuss how she is leading Florida through its Stay at Home Order and protecting consumers from combatting price gouging amid the coronavirus crisis.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry appeared on Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream to discuss Louisiana’s response to COVID-19.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined Neil Cavuto to discuss his leadership during COVID-19.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined the Chris Salcedo Show to discuss what Texas is doing about COVID-19 and how good decisions are being made between states and the White House.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry joined Breitbart News Daily to discuss his column entitled, “‘Made in America’ solutions will defeat COVID-19 and stop China’s economic invasion.”
Republican AGs Protect the Civil Liberties of Americans Amid the Pandemic
THE NEW YORK TIMES: How Abortion, Guns and Church Closings Made Coronavirus a Culture War. “There’s a tremendous amount of social unrest,” said Jeff Landry, the Republican attorney general of Louisiana and an ally of Mr. Trump. “Governors who are using the pandemic as an excuse to keep certain measures in place do so at their own peril.”
And as the state started ordering the closure of schools and nonessential businesses late last month, the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, warned abortion providers that they would be “met with the full force of the law” if they did not stop operating.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry sent a letter encouraging Governor John Bel Edwards to amend his Emergency Proclamation so Churches and Houses of Worship in Louisiana may immediately begin the process of reopening by following specific best practice guidelines. AG Landry remarked, “religious liberty is a bedrock principled right from which our freedom flows.” Read more here.
FOX NEWS: Kansas GOP leads overturn of Dem governor’s limits on church, funeral attendance. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued a memo advising police in Kansas not to enforce Kelly’s order, arguing that while the order contained what appeared to be sound public health advice it also seemed a violation of rights guaranteed under the state’s Constitution.
CBS NEWS: Houses of worship and states battle over coronavirus restrictions. In Kansas, the state’s Attorney General Derek Schmidt has taken matters into his own hands by publishing a memo last week reminding law enforcement they cannot simply arrest people for worshiping after the governor signed an executive order inhibiting religious gatherings in-person.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron called on Governor Andy Beshear to end his targeting of faith-based gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic and allow in-person church gatherings to resume, consistent with Centers for Disease Control recommendations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, the AG filed an amicus brief in support of a Bullitt County church’s lawsuit against Governor Beshear’s unconstitutional ban on religious services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the brief here.
THE EPOCH TIMES: Despite Pandemic, Churches Persevere, Push Back Against Overreach. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, a Republican, said he supported the federal court ruling, which he said was “a much-needed reminder that the Constitution is not under a stay-home order and the Bill of Rights cannot be quarantined.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton provided updated guidance to houses of worship (he issued previous guidance at the beginning of April) regarding the effect of Texas Governor Abbott’s Executive Order on religious services. A copy of the guidance document can be found here.
FOX NEWS: GOP Kentucky AG explains challenge to Democratic gov’s ‘arbitrary’ travel restriction. Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron told “The Ingraham Angle” that Democratic Gov. Andrew Beshear’s executive order restricting commonwealth residents’ travel across state lines is overbroad and unconstitutional.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge successfully defended the Arkansas Department of Health’s April 3, 2020 directive mandating that all non-medically necessary surgeries be postponed while the COVID-19 emergency is ongoing. Read more here.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a brief in United States District Court to enforce Texas Governor Abbott’s Executive Order postponing any unnecessary medical procedures to preserve desperately needed medical supplies for the health care professionals combatting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry led an amicus curiae brief in support of the State of Texas. Joining Louisiana were Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is appealing to the 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals after a recent federal district court order partially enjoined enforcement of Alabama’s COVID-19 health order as it relates to abortion procedures. Read more here.
WASHINGTON POST: Court allows Arkansas ban on surgical abortions due to virus. “All medically unnecessary surgeries must be postponed, and this decision affirms that surgical abortions do not get special treatment,” Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey partnered with the West Virginia Secretary of State to issue an alert to West Virginia voters concerning the increased potential of election fraud due to broad access to absentee ballots for the June 9 primary election. Read more here.
BREITBART: West Virginia AG: Coronavirus Does Not Erase 2nd Amendment Rights. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is advising sheriffs in his state to stay on task processing concealed carry permit applications and issuing those permits for applicants legally able to carry a gun.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill issued an advisory opinion declaring that counties, municipalities and other political subdivisions have no authority under current law to restrict or prohibit the sale of firearms and/or ammunition during an emergency declaration. Read more here.
Republican AGs Team Up with Sports Legends to Warn about Scams
Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch teamed up with pro football hall of famer Brett Favre to create a Public Service Announcement in order to raise awareness about scams and spread information on how to stop the spread of the virus. Watch here.
Kansas Attorney General Eric Schmitt teamed up with Chiefs Super Bowl winning coach Andy Reid. Watch here.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry teamed up with New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson. Watch here.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton teamed up with MLB hall of famer Nolan Ryan. Watch here.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody teamed up with FL Gators legend Emmitt Smith. Watch here.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter teamed up with Coach Switzer. Watch here.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr teamed up with Georgia football legend Herschel Walker. Watch here.
Republican AGs Continue to Create Important Partnerships
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced that Teva Pharmaceuticals is making available 8,000 packs of azithromycin and 75,000 tablets of hydroxychloroquine sulfate. This in addition to the 400,000 tablets of hydroxychloroquine directly donated by Amneal Pharmaceuticals earlier in the month. Read more here.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson teamed up with U.S. Attorney Peter McCoy to keep Americans safe from criminals amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry partnered with The Home Depot to secure tens of thousands of N95 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline workers in Louisiana. Read more here.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr teamed up with state and federal prosecutors to form a new task force aimed at combating COVID-19 Fraud. Read more here.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter wrote an op-ed with the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma that warns consumers about scams. Read the op-ed here.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and United States Attorney Michael Bailey announced the formation of a joint federal, state, and local task force to combat coronavirus-related fraud. Read more here.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and leading senior organizations are joining forces to protect older Floridians from COVID-19 related scams. Read more here.
Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is helping fill Georgia’s food banks through a partnership with the State Bar of Georgia, the Young Lawyers Division (YLD) of the State Bar of Georgia and the Georgia Food Bank Association. Read more here.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron partnered with Kentucky’s U.S. Attorneys to release a PSA regarding fraudulent COVID-19 testing sites.
Republican AGs Protect Americans from Criminals While Democrats Play Politics
FOX NEWS: Curtis Hill: Coronavirus and inmates — ACLU’s bad idea ignores these realities about crime. This spring, the American Civil Liberties Union made news with demands that states and the federal government release large numbers of offenders due to the spread of the coronavirus among inmates. The better option, however, is for correctional officials to simply follow the protocols recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s exactly what’s happening here in Indiana and other states.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill praised an Indiana Supreme Court decision rejecting a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to assume unprecedented rulemaking authority in order to facilitate the release of certain inmates across the state. Read more here.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an intervention to prevent the release of thousands of felony arrestees on personal recognizance bonds, which would allow dangerous criminals to roam freely and commit more crimes during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read a copy of the filing here.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urged the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas in Dallas to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to release dangerous inmates from the Dallas County Jail, including killers, rapists, arsonists and armed robbers. The ACLU’s lawsuit, which seeks to upend Texas’s criminal justice system by indiscriminately releasing inmates into the local community, would violate state law and directly endanger Texans. Read more here.