Republicans are constantly trying to convince you that they are doing everything they can. The truth is, they are not. They count on not having to stick to their word or stand by their vote. Is insincerity the reason they fear a veto session?
Senate, the place where bills go to die
Louisiana legislators killed a number of good bills during the 2022 Regular Session. Some were tailored to health freedom and education. Some were focused on criminal justice and balancing the powers of the government. At least 13 died “pending senate final approval” or “subject to call.”
The first bill to be vetoed was reportedly at the request of the author, Senator Rick Ward. Days later we learned that Ward was stepping down from his senate seat. He wrapped up the 2022 regular session with a long farewell speech during which he praised Governor John Bel Edwards.
John Bel Edwards wasted no time vetoing bills focused on religious freedom, health freedom, education, and balancing power in government. When it came to vaccine discrimination Edwards stated that the bill “perpetuates the false narrative” and that it “seeks to undermine public confidence in vaccines.” This is especially interesting, given the vaccinated governor’s recent Covid diagnosis.
“The bill is unnecessary and perpetuates the false narrative that the residents of Louisiana face vaccine mandates to access government services or attend schools. This is not the case. The bill also seeks to undermine public confidence in vaccines, which are safe, effective, and essential to public health. For these reasons, I have vetoed the bill.” – Governor John Bel Edwards
Of the vetoed bills, 7 passed unanimously in both House and Senate. In fact, Senate passed 19 bills unanimously. Thankfully Speaker of the House, Clay Schexnayder, said veto sessions would be a regular thing now. Right?
Unfortunately, Louisiana’s Senate President and House Speaker are siding with the Governor on this one. They claim they can not get enough votes to override vetoes on bills that passed unanimously. Senate President, Page Cortez went as far as saying a veto session would be a waste of tax dollars. While tax payers may appreciate his sudden desire to be fiscally conservative, he just passed legislation that puts speed trap cameras all over the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
In Louisiana, a veto session automatically takes place unless a majority of the members of either house opt out.
- 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.
- No veto session shall exceed five calendar days
- 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.
Legislators have an obligation to at least attempt to override vetoes on the bills that passed unanimously. They have an obligation to go on record as being consistent or not. Louisiana citizens deserve to know where their legislators stand. This is the only way voters can hold them accountable. Do not believe them when they say they can’t. The problem is that they won’t.
Good Cop/Bad Cop
The House and Senate get to be good cop. They tell the folks back home about how good they voted, how hard they fought. This appears noble until the bad cop, the governor, starts vetoing. This is where it becomes obvious that they are on the same team. If they were not, a veto session would happen without question. If Legislators are not willing to override these vetoes, we know they never intended for the bill to become law. When they petition to not have a veto session, or they do not show up for it, it turns their yes vote into a no.
A veto override session is mandated by our state constitution. I believe it is our obligation as legislators to fulfill our constitutional duty to have the override session. The governor vetoed over 20 bills that would benefit our state. If they were good enough for our state to pass them in regular session, they are good enough to fight for in an override session. – Representative Larry Frieman
Who will back Louisiana citizens?
Jack McFarland, Louisiana Conservative Caucus chairman spoke in support of Louisiana citizens. Numerous senators complained about the amount of pressure they were feeling because of it. If they feel pressure because someone did the right thing, perhaps they should follow his lead.
Senator Rogers Pope declared that he won’t vote to overturn any of the governor’s vetoes. Bodi White is reportedly unable to make it due to health issues. A few legislators planned vacations and will not be able to attend.
“Constituents are calling their legislators and saying I had interest in this bill, I came to the Capitol, I advocated for it. If you go back and look at some of this legislation that was vetoed, it got Republican and Democrat support, these aren’t just bills that Republicans and Democrats supported individually.” – Representative Jack McFarland
Five GOP senators told me they don’t want session, but feel pressure b/c @RepMcFarland‘s House Conservative Caucus came out in favor of one. ‘He put us in a box,’ one said. But Pope, who has squared off against powerhouses like @LABI_biz, says, ‘I’m not scared’ #lagov #lalege https://t.co/q0ksxuDWCl
— Greg Hilburn (@GregHilburn1) July 4, 2022
Instead of @RepMcFarland, the focus should instead be on #lagov who vetoed 27 @LAGOPDelegation bills that held violent criminal accountable for their acts, allowed the free exercise of religion, improved voter integrity, educational options for kids and health freedom. #lalege https://t.co/Y9OfKH1Fh2
— Blake Miguez (@BlakeMiguezLA) July 4, 2022
I believe it is the duty of the legislature to return to Baton Rouge and have a veto override session. We need to vote and let our constituents know where we stand on each issue. – Representative Danny McCormick
It is time for Louisiana Legislators to stand for something. If we do not have a veto session now, that will mean much of the 2022 Regular Session was a waste of tax dollars. If they skip thanking each other for showing up and making “personal privilege” speeches, this session could be done in a day.
Bills that passed both House and Senate Unanimously
- HB145 by Representative Kathy Edmondston
- HB216 by Representative Roy Daryl Adams
- HB492 by Representative Bryan Fontenot
- HB717 by Representative Wayne McMahen
- SB224 by Senator Sharron Hewitt
- SB241 by Senator Bret Allain
- SB441 by Michael “Big Mike” Fesi
If we’re not watching them, who will?
Citizens for a New Louisiana is the only organization in Louisiana dedicated to reforming local government. With the help of numerous volunteers we are making some progress. However, there’s much more work we could be doing. Making a difference will take a little more than reading an article every now and then. Your community doesn’t need another spectator. They need someone willing to step onto the field and become a real part of the solution. Will you join us?Help us to achieve the vision of creating a new, propserous state by becoming a Citizen of a New Louisiana. Become a Citizen