Support grows for a veto session over transgender athlete bill

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – There is growing support for politicians to return to the capital city to override a veto by Governor John Bel Edwards.

The bill by Senator Beth Mizell echoes legislation across the country. It would prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls’ athletic teams in school. The Governor vetoed the bill saying it is not an issue in Louisiana and the bill discriminates against transgender children. 

Messages for a veto override session continue to pour in following the veto on Tuesday.

Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder said while he doesn’t have the authority to call a session, he supports one. The Louisiana GOP and Attorney General Jeff Landry said the bill is needed to protect women.

“The passage of the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act (SB156) was a common-sense approach by the Legislature to protect women. The Governor’s disrespect for women by vetoing this bipartisan bill was both disappointing and irresponsible. With growing support from citizens and legislators all across the state, the Louisiana Legislature has the opportunity to right this wrong. I join my fellow citizens in supporting the Legislature’s duty to protect women and hold a veto session,” Landry said in a statement.

In the Governor’s veto message he said the legislation makes life more difficult for trans children who are already a vulnerable population. He also said it could lead to major competitions and events being taken away from the state.

Governor’s veto message:

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana. Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue. 

Further, it would make life more difficult for transgender children, who are some of the most vulnerable Louisianans when it comes to issues of mental health. We should be looking for more ways to unite rather than divide our citizens. And while there is no issue to be solved by this bill, it does present real problems in that it makes it more likely that NCAA and professional championships, like the 2022 Final Four, would not happen in our state. For these and for other reasons, I have vetoed the bill.”

What Happens Next?

When the Governor vetoes a bill it automatically calls a veto session. But most of the time Senators and Representatives submit notes saying it is not necessary. If a majority of the House or Senate submit enough notes then a session won’t be held. Senator Mizell’s bill passed with overwhelming support in the Senate and House.

There has never been a post-session veto-override session since the Louisiana Constitution was adopted in 1974. The legislature has only overturned a veto twice, both during the regular session.

There are also talks of veto overrides for two other bills. One would permit people 21 and older to conceal carry firearms without a permit or training. The other is the tax overhaul bill that would use vehicle tax dollars for infrastructure construction.

 §18.  Gubernatorial Action on Bills; Sign, Failure to Sign, Veto; Veto Session
 Section 18.(A)  Gubernatorial Action.  If the governor does not approve a bill, he may veto it.  A bill, except a joint resolution, shall become law if the governor signs it or if he fails to sign or veto it within ten days after delivery to him if the legislature is in session on the tenth day after such delivery, or within twenty days after delivery if the tenth day after delivery occurs after the legislature is adjourned.
 (B)  Veto Message.  If the governor vetoes a bill, he shall return it to the legislature, with his veto message within twelve days after delivery to him if the legislature is in session.  If the governor returns a vetoed bill after the legislature adjourns, he shall return it, with his veto message, as provided by law.
 (C)  Veto Session.  (1)  A bill vetoed and returned and subsequently approved by two-thirds of the elected members of each house shall become law.  The legislature shall meet in veto session in the state capital at noon on the fortieth day following final adjournment of the most recent session, to consider all bills vetoed by the governor.  If the fortieth day falls on Sunday, the session shall convene at noon on the succeeding Monday.  No veto session shall exceed five calendar days, and any veto session may be finally adjourned prior to the end of the fifth day upon a vote of two-thirds of the elected members of each house.
 (2)  No veto session shall be held if a majority of the elected members of either house declare in writing that a veto session is unnecessary.  The declaration must be received by the presiding officer of the respective houses at least five days prior to the day on which the veto session is to convene.
 Acts 1989, No. 841, §1, approved Oct. 7, 1989, eff. Nov. 7, 1989. 

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