Louisiana Emergency Management and Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
CRS Report for Congress
Louisiana Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Updated September 2, 2005
Specialist in American National Government
Government and Finance Division
L. Cheryl Runyon and Kae M. Warnock
Government and Finance Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Louisiana Emergency Management and Homeland
Security Authorities Summarized
The Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Assistance and Disaster Act
requires that state emergency management functions be coordinated with those of the
federal government and other states. The statute also confers emergency powers
upon the governor and parish presidents and requires the preparation of statewide and
local plans for emergency preparedness. The Louisiana Health Emergency Powers
Act requires that actions be taken to protect life and control diseases in a public
health emergency. Louisiana’s Emergency Interim State Executive Succession Act,
the Emergency Interim Legislative Succession Act, the Emergency Interim Judicial
Succession Act, and the Emergency Interim Local Executive Succession Act provide
lines of succession for all levels of government in the state.
This report is one of a series that profiles emergency management and homeland
security statutory authorities of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each profile identifies the
more significant elements of state statutes, generally as codified. Congressional
readers may wish to conduct further searches for related provisions using the Internet
link presented in the last section of this report. The National Conference of State
Legislatures provided primary research assistance in the development of these
profiles under contract to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Summary
information on all of the profiles is presented in CRS Report RL32287, Emergency
Management and Homeland Security Statutory Authorities in the States, District of
Columbia, and Insular Areas: A Summary.
This report will be updated as developments warrant.
Entities with Key Responsibilities.................................1
Types of Assistance............................................5
Continuity of Government Operations..............................6
For Further Research...........................................9
List of Tables
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security Terms Defined in
Louisiana Statutes, with Citations.................................9
Louisiana Emergency Management and
Homeland Security Authorities Summarized
Entities with Key Responsibilities
Governor: In addition to other powers conferred by law, the governor may:
suspend provisions of any statute, order, rule or regulation; use all available
resources; transfer personnel or functions of departments; commandeer private
property; compel evacuation or control movement of population in a stricken or
threatened area; regulate the sale, dispensation, or transportation of alcoholic
beverages, firearms, and combustibles; and make provision for temporary emergency
housing (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §724D). The governor may also order the militia
into active service if needed for homeland security or emergency preparedness
incidents (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §7). The governor may exercise emergency
preparedness powers related to public health emergencies, as specified (La. Rev. Stat.
Title 29, §766).
In addition, the governor may: carry out all precautionary measures against air
raids and other forms of attack; undertake precautionary measures to minimize the
loss of life or property which might result from enemy attacks; and make, amend, or
rescind general or special orders, rules, and regulations as necessary. The statute also
authorizes blackouts and radio silences as directed by the U.S. Army or designated
agency (La. Rev. Stat. Title 53, §41-46).
Adjutant General: The adjutant general serves as the director of the office of
homeland security and emergency preparedness, coordinates activities of emergency
preparedness within the state, and cooperates with emergency preparedness agencies
and organizations of other states and of the federal government (La. Rev. Stat. Title
29, §725). In response to a declared national or state emergency (due to war, a
natural disaster or civil disturbance, or imminent danger), members of the Louisiana
National Guard and military police, as directed by the adjutant general, have all of
the powers and authority of peace officers unless otherwise restricted by executive
orders, proclamations, regulations or orders (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §7.1). The
adjutant general may promulgate public health rules for the National Guard (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 29, §767).
Military Department: The statute designates the department to be the state
homeland security and emergency preparedness agency (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29,
§722A(1), see also La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §725A). The department is composed of
the National Guard, the Louisiana State Guard, military police, the Office of
Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, and other offices created by law
(La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §1(B)).
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness: Established within
the Military Department, the office maintains a state emergency operations plan that
addresses: the prevention and minimization of injury and damage; prompt and
effective response; identification of areas particularly vulnerable to disasters or
emergencies; coordination with other plans and the federal Department of Homeland
Security; recommendations for zoning, building, and other land use controls; and
other matters. The plan must also address the provision of assistance to local
officials designing local and interjurisdictional emergency action plans and the
organization of manpower and chains of command. The office must determine
requirements for food, clothing, and other necessities; procure and pre-position
supplies and equipment in the event of an emergency; identify resources, facilities,
and people with training essential to mitigation, preparedness, response, and
recovery; and, prepare executive orders, proclamations, and regulations for issuance
by the governor (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §726). When the governor declares an
emergency or disaster, the director of the office activates the state emergency
response and recovery program (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §723(C)). Also, the director
of the office coordinates with the Department of Health and Hospitals on public
health emergencies, but has primary jurisdiction over specified activities (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 29, §766(E)). The Subcommittee on Chemical and Biological Terrorism
of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, which is established by the office, is
responsible for the preparation of specific plans (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §764(A)).
Units of local government: Political subdivisions in Louisiana are authorized to
create local organizations for emergency preparedness (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29,
§722(A.)(1)). For purposes of homeland security and emergency preparedness,
political subdivisions work within the jurisdiction of the state Military Department,
Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and are served by the
parish homeland security and emergency preparedness agency for disaster
preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §727(A.).
Parish President: Parish presidents exercise emergency powers provided under
the statute (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §722(A.)(2)). Parish presidents are directed to
establish and maintain offices of homeland security and emergency preparedness in
their parishes and may: suspend the provisions of any regulatory ordinance; utilize
available resources; transfer direction, personnel, or functions of local departments;
commandeer private property; compel evacuation or control movement of population
in stricken or threatened area; and regulate the sale, dispensing, or transportation of
alcoholic beverages, firearms, and combustibles (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §727(B.,C.,
Parish homeland security and emergency preparedness agency: The agency
directors are appointed by parish presidents. Officials in parish homeland security
and emergency preparedness agencies must prepare and maintain an all hazards
emergency operations plan that may include the following elements: prevention and
minimization of injury and damage; disaster response; emergency relief;
identification of areas particularly vulnerable to disasters or emergency; land use
controls; construction of temporary works to mitigate disasters; and coordination
with other state agencies, local government, and the federal government. Agencies
are to determine parish requirements for food, clothing, and other necessities; procure
and pre-position supplies; and establish a register of available mobile and
construction equipment and temporary housing (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §728-§729
Interjurisdictional emergency preparedness agency: The governing authorities
of any two or more parishes may enter into agreements to establish regional
emergency preparedness organizations. The interjurisdictional agencies must
distribute statements to all appropriate officials that discuss the emergency
responsibilities of local agencies and officials and chains of command. Political
subdivisions not participating in interjurisdictional arrangements are encouraged to
make arrangements for furnishing mutual aid. The statute provides for compensation
for property commandeered by such agencies; authorizes parish agencies to enter
another jurisdiction, upon request, to assist during an emergency; and limits the
liability of the responding and requesting parishes (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §730-
Louisiana Wing, Civil Air Patrol: The patrol is declared a “quasi agency” of the
state, is designated the official search and rescue organization, and may provide
services and assistance in response to disasters or emergencies (La. Rev. Stat. Title
29, §650). When providing disaster emergency services or assistance, a member of
the Civil Air Patrol who in good faith renders emergency care, first aid, or rescue at
the scene of an emergency, is not liable for damages (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §656).
The state is directed to provide or pay for necessary medical and other expenses
associated with the medical care needed by a member of civil air patrol who is
injured or contracts a disease or illness while in the course of providing services or
assistance during an official mission or a disaster emergency or exercise. The state
has no other liability for damages associated with the illness or injury (La. Rev. Stat.
Title 29, §657).
Emergency Response Commission: The statute established emergency planning
districts and local emergency planning committees in the state in accordance with the
federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (42 U.S.C. 11001
et seq.) (La. Rev. Stat. Title 30, §2364).
The statute created the Environmental Emergency Response Training Program
to instruct emergency response personnel to respond to and address environmental
problems and emergencies occurring within their jurisdiction and to assist
environmental emergencies occurring regionally. The chief of each eligible agency,
including any municipality or parish, may apply to the department for allocation of
funds from the Environmental Trust Fund for training (La. Rev. Stat. Title 30,
Health care providers, veterinarians, or other medical practitioners must report
information, as directed in the statute, on cases that may cause public health
emergencies (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §765).
Prior to the issuance of specified permits, applicants for solid waste disposal
facilities must consider the ability of local emergency responders and medical care
facilities to respond to hazardous material incidents. Certification must be obtained
regarding response capabilities (La. Rev. Stat. Title 30, §2157).
Parish offices of homeland security and emergency preparedness may provide
emergency alert services or designate providers of such services (La. Rev. Stat. Title
See also “Entities with Key Responsibilities” — Office of Homeland Security
and Emergency Preparedness.
The governor is authorized to declare a disaster or emergency if he finds a
disaster has occurred or is imminent. The state of disaster emergency continues until
the governor terminates it, or until emergency conditions no longer exist. The statute
limits the length of a disaster emergency to 30 days unless it is renewed by the
governor. The legislature, by means of a petition signed by a majority of the
surviving members of either chamber, may terminate a state of disaster or emergency
at any time. The declaration of a state of disaster emergency activates the state
emergency response and recovery program (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §724 B(1-2),
The statute provides for the suspension or delay of an election due to an
emergency. The governor may, upon issuance of an executive order declaring a state
of emergency or impending emergency, suspend or delay the qualifying of
candidates, or elections (La. Rev. Stat. Title 18, §401.1).
The governor is authorized to declare a state of public health emergency by
executive order or proclamation, which continues for 30 days unless renewed by the
governor. The legislature, by majority of either chamber, may terminate such an
emergency at any time and prohibit the issuance of other such declarations (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 29, §766, 768).
The statute authorizes commissioners at an oilfield site or related facility to
issue an emergency declaration to require immediate action to prevent substantial or
irreparable damage to the environment or a serious threat to life or safety. The
commissioner is authorized to undertake the containment and abatement of the
pollution source and pollutants and must submit an annual report to the House and
Senate Natural Resources Committees that lists the number and type of emergencies
declared (La. Rev. Stat. Title 30, §6.1D).
When an incident of such magnitude occurs as to require immediate action to
prevent irreparable damage to the environment or a serious threat to life or safety, the
Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality may declare that an
emergency exists. The secretary is authorized to undertake the containment and
abatement of the pollution source and pollutants (La. Rev. Stat. Title 30, §2033).
A local disaster or emergency may be declared by the mayor or local chief
executive, with immediate notification provided to the parish president. The state of
emergency continues until terminated by the president or the emergency conditions
no longer exist. A state of emergency may not continue for longer than 30 days
unless extended by the parish president. A state of emergency or disaster may be
terminated by the governor, by a petition signed by a majority of the surviving
members of either of the state legislature, or a majority of the surviving members of
the local governing authority. When a disaster or emergency exceeds the capabilities
of local government, the local official must request assistance from the state office
of emergency preparedness or the local office. A declaration of a local emergency
activates the local response and recovery program (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §737D,E).
Information on protective actions to be taken during a state of public health
emergency must be distributed by the Department of Health and Hospitals (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 29, §770).
Types of Assistance
The statute authorizes the Department of Public Welfare, or other entity
designated by the governor, to cooperate with the federal government in providing
assistance to any person who needs such aid due to restrictive action of the federal
government, the evacuation of civilians, sabotage, civil defense measures or enemy
action. The Department or designated entity may establish rules and regulations to
take any action necessary and desirable, to grant monetary assistance, to make
investigations, and to render all other necessary or desirable services. The designated
entities are authorized to accept any federal grant of assistance, under specified
conditions (La. Rev. Stat. Title 53, §101-103).
A state or any political subdivision may accept any offer of equipment, supplies,
materials or funds made by the federal government for war-time or defense activities
(La. Rev. Stat. Title 53, §2).
The statute limits the pricing of goods and services within an emergency area
to protect the parish from price gouging (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §732, 734).
The Interstate Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Compact is codified (La.
Rev. Stat. Title 29, §733).
The Southern Regional Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness
Management Assistance Compact is codified (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §751).
In an emergency or a special event a political subdivision may furnish police
manpower and equipment upon the request of another police department or sheriff’s
office (La. Rev. Stat. Title 33, §2337).
Political subdivisions, state agencies and organizations created jointly by
Louisiana and another state, acting either singly or jointly, may by a majority vote of
its governing body acquire, and maintain any property necessary to the performance
of any agreement with the federal government in connection with the war and defense
program. Such entities may accept from the federal government or other sources
money or property to aid them in operating and maintaining these projects (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 53, §151).
The governing authorities of two or more parishes may establish regional
organizations for homeland security and emergency preparedness (La. Rev. Stat. Title
The statute establishes as state policy that funds for disasters and emergencies
are to always be available. The governor, with the concurrence of the disaster and
emergency funding board, may transfer monies appropriated for other purposes or
may borrow funds if funds regularly appropriated to state agencies are insufficient
(La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §731). This process also applies to financing public health
emergencies (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §771(A)).
If the state legislature is not in session, the written consent of two-thirds of each
legislative chamber must be obtained when the interim emergency board (composed
of the governor, lieutenant governor, state treasurer, the presiding officer of each
chamber of the legislature, and the chairs of the Senate Committee on Finance and
the House Committee on Appropriations) finds that an emergency justifies the
appropriation of money from the general fund or the borrowing of funds. Consent
is obtained by sending ballots to members of the legislature. The statute imposes a
limit on the amount of indebtedness to be incurred (La. Rev. Stat. Title 39, §461-
The statute created the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund for the response to any
emergency as provided in statute, and other costs (La. Rev. Stat. Title 30, §86).
The statute established the Environmental Trust Fund to defray the costs of:
emergency response activities; containment, control, and abatement of pollution
sources and pollutants; investigation, containment, and cleanup of hazardous waste
or solid waste sites; securing and quarantining hazardous waste sites; and
implementing the Environmental Emergency Response Training Program (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 30, §2015).
The statute established the finding that the vulnerability of people and
communities in the state to natural or other catastrophes must be reduced (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 29, §722(A)(4)(7,8)).
See also “Entities with Key Responsibilities” — Governor.
Continuity of Government Operations
The Emergency Interim Judicial Succession Act requires that the governor
designate for each member of the supreme court, and the chief justice of the supreme
court to designate for all other courts of record, from three to seven emergency judges
and specify the order of their succession. Special emergency judges are empowered
to discharge the duties of an office only after an attack upon the United States. The
legislature may at any time terminate the authority by concurrent resolution (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 13, §2701-2707).
The Emergency Interim Legislative Succession Act provides for emergency
interim succession to the legislature by authorizing members to designate from three
to seven emergency interim successors and specify their order of succession.
Emergency interim successors must meet constitutional and statutory qualifications
to hold office. The statute provides a contingent designation method for emergency
interim successors. Emergency interim successors are to keep generally informed as
to the duties, procedures, practices and current business of the legislature (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 24, §61-69).
When, due to an enemy attack or an anticipated attack, it becomes imprudent
or impossible to conduct state government at its regular location, the governor may
declare emergency temporary location of government within or without the state (La.
Rev. Stat. Title 24, §70).
In the event of an attack, the governor is to call the legislature into session
within 90 days. If the governor fails to issue call, the legislature is to automatically
convene. Each chamber must select a final emergency interim successor for any
unavailable legislator. Limitations on the length of session and on the subjects that
may be acted upon would be suspended. Emergency interim successors assume the
duties until the incumbent legislators can act. In the event of an attack, quorum
requirements are suspended and proportional voting requirements would be amended.
The authority of emergency interim successors expires two years following the
inception of an attack. The governor, by proclamation, or the legislature, by
concurrent resolution, may extend or restore authority or the operation of any
provisions when necessary, for up to one year (La. Rev. Stat. Title 24,§71-75).
The Emergency Interim Local Executive Succession Act enables legislative
bodies of municipalities, parishes and other units of local government to provide for
emergency interim successors to offices. The officers of political subdivisions are
to designate three to seven deputies or emergency interim successors and specify
their order of succession. Emergency interim successors are empowered to discharge
the duties of an office only after an attack upon the United States. The governing
body of the political subdivision, by resolution, may at any time terminate the
authority of emergency interim successors, who may be removed or replaced by the
designating authority at any time, with or without cause (La. Rev. Stat. Title 33,
The Emergency Interim State Executive Succession Act provides for emergency
interim succession to state offices. All officials authorized under the constitution or
other authority to discharge the duties of the office of governor must designate three
to seven deputies or emergency interim successors and specify their order of
succession. The emergency interim successors are empowered to discharge the
duties of an office only after an attack upon the United States. The state legislature
by concurrent resolution may at any time terminate the authority of the successors
(La. Rev. Stat. Title 49, §851-858).
The governor may convene the legislature in extraordinary session without prior
notice or proclamation in the event of public emergency caused by epidemic, enemy
attack, or public catastrophe (La. Constitution, Article 3, §2(C)).
The statute sets limits on pricing of goods and services within an emergency
area in order to protect the parish from price gouging (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §732).
The statute presents findings that state law must be strengthened to control the
issuance of drivers’ licenses or identification cards to those who seek to use the state
highways to commit acts of terror (La. Rev. Stat. Title 14, §100.11).
Each public school principal must prepare a crisis management and response
plan to address school safety, the incidence of violence at schools, and the
management of other emergency situations. The plans must be developed with the
assistance of emergency preparedness officials (La. Rev. Stat. Title 17, §416.16).
The statute limits civil liability to persons who voluntarily and without
compensation permit their property to be used as a public shelter during an actual,
impending, mock, or practice emergency (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §733.1).
The statute limits private liability during public health emergencies (La. Rev.
Stat. Title 29, §771(B)).
A public body may hold a closed executive session for cases of extraordinary
emergency, limited to natural disasters, threats of epidemic, civil disturbances,
suppression of insurrections, the repelling of invasions, or other matters of similar
magnitude (La. Rev. Stat. Title 42, §6.1. A(5)).
A public employee who is a disaster service volunteer may be granted leave up
to 15 days in each year to participate in specialized disaster relief services for the
American Red Cross, without loss of pay, vacation time, sick leave or earned
overtime accumulation (La. Rev. Stat. Title 42, §450.2-4).
Homeland security and emergency preparedness organizations cannot be used
for political purposes (La. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §727(H)).
Table 1. Key Emergency Management and Homeland Security
Terms Defined in Louisiana Statutes, with Citations
Act of terrorismLa. Rev. Stat. Title 14, §100.12(1), §128.1
AttackLa. Rev. Stat. Title 13, §2703(3), Title 33,
BioterrorismLa. Rev. Stat. Title 49, §853(4)
DisasterLa. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §723(1), Title 42,
EmergencyLa. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §723(2), Title 33,
Emergency alert providerLa. Rev. Stat. Title 45, §841(2)
Emergency interim successorLa. Rev. Stat. Title 13, §2703(2), Title 49,
Extremely hazardousLa. Rev. Stat. Title 30, §2363(5)
Hazardous materialLa. Rev. Stat. Title 30, §2363(7)
Parish office of homelandLa. Rev. Stat. Title 45:841(5)
security and emergency
Public health emergencyLa. Rev. Stat. Title 29, §762(L)
For Further Research
The citations noted above and other elements of the state code for Louisiana
may be searched at [http://www.legis.state.la.us/].