BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – For the first time under the current constitution Louisiana legislators have decided to hold a veto session in an effort to overturn some of Governor John Bel Edwards vetoes.
JUST IN: Senator Sharon Hewitt shared the official message sent to lawmakers that the veto session is officially a GO. pic.twitter.com/HDmO9NXxsI— Shannon Heckt (@ShannonHeckt) July 16, 2021
His rejection of two bills in particular appears to have been what prompted the push back by Republicans.
They are the Conceal Carry bill, which loosens restrictions for those who conceal carry a gun, and a transgender bill that bans transgender school athletes from competing against the gender of which they’ve identified.
Both the House and Senate were able to reach the two-thirds vote benchmark.
The Pelican Institute released this statement after the veto session became reality:
We applaud the decision of the legislature to allow this veto-override session to proceed. While there will be much talk about the historic nature of this session, the people of Louisiana care more about results than record books.
“House Bill 38, the school district fiscal transparency bill by Representative Rick Edmonds, received support of large majorities of the legislature during its journey through the 2021 session. School district transparency is among the most popular issues to Louisianans, with support from 95% of people across this state.
“While the governor called the bill “unnecessary” and “unaffordable”, we believe that fiscal transparency is of the utmost importance and is never unnecessary. With schools across the state set to receive $3.9 billion in MFP dollars this year and an additional $4 billion in federal dollars, transparency has never been more important. A potential cost of several thousand dollars per district is worth the investment to ensure taxpayers can see where their money is being spent. We urge the legislature to vote to override the veto of this important and popular piece of legislation.
”If this veto is left to stand, taxpayers will be left to wonder: what are they hiding?”
With only 12 members of the Senate and 35 members of the House saying no to the veto session, it wasn’t enough to stop it. That leaves a near majority of those in support of the session.
“There is a difference between the majority in the House and the Senate that are required to call themselves into an override session and the 2/3 vote needed in both in order to actually override a veto,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “The vetoes that I issued I fully stand behind.”
Starting on Tuesday, legislators will begin debate on two bills that have garnered support to overturn the veto. One bill by Sen. Jay Morris would allow people 21 and older to conceal carry a firearm without a permit or training. Law enforcement agencies across the state have asked their lawmakers not to overturn the veto because they believe it would put them in danger.
“Criminals will carry regardless of the law,” Sen. Morris said. “This is just a law for law abiding citizens who want to protect themselves from those that would break the law.”
The other bill by Sen. Beth Mizell would prevent transgender girls from competing in girls sports.
This bill passed with support on both sides of the aisle.
“I think it’s because those two bills, especially the Fairness in Women’s Sports bill, are very emotional and they cross political boundaries,” Sen. Sharon Hewitt said.
It will take 26 of the 39 senators and 70 of the 104 representatives to vote in favor of undoing the veto. The session will be held starting July 20th, and could last until July 24th.