BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana lawmakers have until the end of the day on Monday to decide if they will convene for a veto override session this weekend.
Governor John Bel Edwards has vetoed 28 bills, with line-item vetoes in the budget bill. Last year GOP leadership failed to overturn the governor’s veto of the legislation that would ban transgender girls from competing on girls sports teams, with just a few votes short in the House.
The GOP leadership was successful in March to overturn Governor Edwards’ veto of the congressional redistricting map that only contains one majority-minority district, which is currently being challenged in court.
One thing that is different this time around is there doesn’t appear to be one major issue that could unify the GOP and a couple democrats to get the two-thirds vote needed to overturn a veto. With two extra sessions on top of the longer regular session, some believe another session would be a waste of taxpayer money and unproductive. Most recently the legislature was called back into session just days after the regular session ended to pass a new redistricting map as ordered by a court. The lawmakers were not able to pass anything and left fruitless.
The Conservative Caucus, made up of 39 house republicans, called for a veto override session in late june.
“…If the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate thought these bills were worthy of becoming law, then we should all band together to ensure that becomes reality,” Conservative Caucus Chairman Rep. Jack McFarland said in a press release.
Most notably from the list of vetoed bills are multiple bills that look to curb the governor’s power to close buildings and organizations in times of emergency. This is in response to frustrations over pandemic closures over 2020 and 2021. The governor’s letters for those bills state it would create a danger in times of emergency to not have the ability to make those kind of decisions.
A controversial topic that was also vetoed is a bill that would create education savings accounts for students who are not reading at grade level. The bill would allow for students who are not attending public school to pull down money from public accounts to aid in the student’s learning outside a classroom setting. Governor Edwards has historically been against education savings accounts for fear it will take away from the MFP that pays for public school students.
In his veto letter he said “this bill would potentially divert needed funds from public education without any consideration for need or income levels. As passed, this bill would allow the children of wealthy parents to attend private schools subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Further, as drafted, and dependent upon rules yet to be promulgated by the Department of Education, these funds may also be considered to be school expense deductions that would provide for a significant loss in state tax revenues. Thus, depending on how the rules are drafted, wealthy parents would possibly be allowed to deduct these expenses from their tax liability even though the funds were provided by the taxpayers.”
Another bill looks to ban mandating vaccines for entry into public facilities and public schools. It is a much more pared down version of the original bill. The governor vetoed the bill stating that people do not need to be vaccinated to enter public facilities and the bill creates a false distrust of vaccine effectiveness.
View the full list of vetoed bills here.
Lawmakers have until 11:59 Monday night to submit ballots to state they do not want to hold the override session. Those who do want to have the extra session do not return the ballots sent to them. If the simple majority of the House or Senate returns the ballots, then the session will not take place and the vetoes will stand.