Louisiana GOP lawmakers want virus tracking to be voluntary

State News

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks to reporters at a briefing on the state’s efforts against the coronavirus pandemic in Baton Rouge, La., Monday, May 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Republican state lawmakers are trying to ensure that Louisiana won’t penalize residents who refuse to cooperate with the state’s work to track the coronavirus spread.

They’re citing concerns about privacy rights as contact tracers reach out to people infected with the virus to determine who they’ve come into contact with.

Republicans have attached a provision in next year’s budget that would keep Louisiana from spending money on a virus tracking program that requires people to participate or face penalties.

They’ve advanced legislation calling on Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration to stress that participation is voluntary.

The Democratic governor says he doesn’t intend to penalize people who don’t provide information.

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