Clancy DuBos: In veto showdown, John Bel Edwards is in the catbird seat; lawmakers, on the hot seat

Editorial: With an honorable veto, John Bel Edwards calls Legislature to its duty
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Many have noted that the most dangerous enemy is one with nothing to lose. Are Republican lawmakers in Louisiana about to test the efficacy of that wisdom?

We’ll know by Thursday.

That’s the deadline for the GOP-majority Legislature to decide if it wants to return to Baton Rouge for a veto override session after Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed more than two dozen measures passed in this year’s annual session.

Three of the vetoed bills are far-right obsessions that target LGBTQ youth under the guise of “protecting children.” Truth is all three merely echo the fabricated fever dreams of self-styled “Christian” conservatives.

House Bill 648 by Rep. Gabe Firment, R-Pollock, outlaws gender-affirming health care for minors and exposes health care providers who deliver such care to professional and civil penalties.

Edwards penned an extraordinary six-page veto message deconstructing Firment’s bill. He called it “so blatantly defective on so many levels that brevity is impossible” and noted that its title — the Stop Harming Our Kids Act — “is ironic because that is precisely what it does.”

House Bill 81 by Rep. Raymond Crews, R-Bossier City, would require public school teachers to ignore students’ preferred pronouns unless the students’ parents give written permission to do otherwise. Edwards said in his veto message that the bill was among a “string of discriminatory bills being pushed by extreme groups around the country under the guise of religious freedom.”

House Bill 466 by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, outlaws all talk of sexual or gender identity in classrooms or extracurricular settings. Edwards says he vetoed the bill because it grants a “legislative blessing for sanctioned bullying of LGBTQ children in schools.”

Veto sessions, though rare before Edwards became governor in 2016, are actually automatic under Louisiana’s constitution — unless a majority of at least one legislative chamber votes not to convene.

Since Edwards took office, lawmakers have twice tried to override him. Their first attempt, in 2021, ended in failure and embarrassment for GOP leadership.

Last year, however, lawmakers overrode his veto of a congressional redistricting bill that created only one majority-Black district. That plan now appears to be on shaky ground after the U.S. Supreme Court tossed a similar districting plan in Alabama.

This is an election year, and evangelical culture warriors are on the warpath. Edwards is term-limited, but most lawmakers are either up for reelection or running for other political offices.

You can search the world over and never find an invertebrate more spineless than a Louisiana politician at election time, though most talk as though they’d stormed the beaches at Normandy. 

Edwards, on the other hand, has nothing to lose. That makes him fearless — and dangerous.

He’s also in the catbird seat.

No matter what anti-LGBTQ lawmakers do, history will remember Edwards as a principled leader who defended the vulnerable — and those who voted to override him, even if they all win their next elections, as craven cowards who caved to hatemongers and bullies.

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About Mary Weyand 11096 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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