BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana lawmakers are making their return to the capital city for the first ever veto override session. There are 28 bills that Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed after the regular session and there is a major push by the conservative members to test their legislative power.
There are two bills at the forefront of the debate. SB156 by Senator Beth Mizell would prohibit transgender girls from competing on girls athletic teams. The bill argues that trans girls would be at a biological advantage over the other girls. The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act was vetoed by the governor to which he described it as “a solution in search of a problem’ since there have been no cases of the issue occurring in Louisiana.
The other bill rallying support from the NRA and gun rights activists is SB118 by Senator Jay Morris. It would remove the permit and training requirements for someone over the age of 21 to conceal carry a firearm. Members of law enforcement agencies across the state have opposed the veto override. They believe it would put officers in more danger while in the line of duty. Governor Edwards, a supporter of the second amendment, said the training helps create more responsible gun owners and should remain a requirement.
There are multiple other bills that GOP members discussed bringing up at their rally on the state capitol steps Monday night. This includes line item vetoes in the operating budget, which included several pet projects for Republican members. Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder said the bills that come up for debate will be decided strategically to help get better support.
In order to override a veto, there needs to be a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate. The House currently has 104 members, with Gary Carter recently winning an election to switch to the senate side, and it will take 70 votes to undo a veto. Thirty-five members voted against holding the veto session, so it could pose a challenge to get the bipartisan support. In the Senate, there needs to be 26 members to vote in favor of the override out of the 39 senators.
There are some lawmakers unable to make the session that could challenge the majority vote as well. Sen. Ronnie Johns recently underwent a knee surgery and said he would not be able to make it. Rep. Malinda White also said she could not attend due to health reasons.
The veto session begins noon on Tuesday at noon and can only last until Saturday. There is debate on if a bill can be voted on multiple times during the veto session. President Page Cortex and Speaker Schexnayder held meetings Monday to discuss their plan for bills and go over the procedures since the session has never taken place before.
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