Louisiana Republicans will attempt to override Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ vetoes of an anti-trans bill and other controversial legislation next week in the first veto session since the new state constitution was enacted in 1974.
The state’s Republican-led House and Senate announced Friday that the veto session will go ahead after Democrats failed to submit enough objections. It is slated to commence Tuesday and last up to five days.
While such a session is automatically scheduled whenever the governor vetoes bills passed by the legislature, lawmakers have stuck with tradition and voted against holding it for the past five decades, The Associated Press noted.
“This is democracy in action,” GOP House Speaker Clay Schexnayder said in a statement.
Republicans are rallying behind two measures among the dozens that Edwards vetoed: a bill banning transgender girls from school sports and legislation scrapping restrictions on concealed handguns.
The transgender youth bill in particular has captured national attention. It’s one of several similar measures passed in GOP-led state legislatures this year claiming that some transgender youth have an unfair advantage in school sports. Edwards, when he vetoed it last month, denounced it as a transphobic solution to a nonexistent issue.
“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,” the governor said. “Even the author of the bill acknowledged throughout the legislative session that there wasn’t a single case where this was an issue,” he added, referring to state Sen. Beth Mizell (R).
Regardless, Republican state lawmakers are willing to go to battle on the matter, and have the support of the broader GOP. Reacting to news about the veto session, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) remarked: “Good.”
Republicans will need a two-thirds majority in the state House and Senate to override any of Edwards’ vetoes. To prevail, they will need at least two Democrats or independents to join every House Republican. The GOP enjoys a supermajority in the Senate.