HITHER AND YON: Edwards Says He Doesn’t Expect To Use His Veto Much, And Here’s Why

There’s a NOLA.com story today about Gov. John Bel Edwards and the veto, and some of our readers might find a statement he makes surprising seeing as though he has a Republican legislature to contend with…

Gov. John Bel Edwards can’t identify at this time one bill working its way through the Louisiana Legislature that he would veto.

In an interview Thursday (May 5), the governor said he has concerns about some legislation that’s still alive, but he believed those concerns would be addressed before the bills ever reach his desk.

“There are some bills I am uncomfortable with, but I believe my discomfort is shared by members of the Legislature and they still have the ability to amend the bills and shape them to where that discomfort would go away,” he said.

A couple of hours later at a press conference, Edwards mentioned he is specifically worried about the so-called “sanctuary cities” bill passed by the Louisiana House to punish any cities, like New Orleans, that do not cooperate with federal immigration officials in prosecuting undocumented workers. But he thought the Senate might share his reservations about the legislation and change it accordingly.

And a little more…

The governor added that much of the legislation he had the biggest problems with at the beginning of the session had already died. Edwards said he tries to let lawmakers know when he is opposed to their bills. He also calls the members of legislative committees overseeing legislation he doesn’t like to let them know why he is opposed to it.

“I don’t want them finding out for the first time in a committee meeting that we are opposed to a bill that they have,” he said.

It’s somewhat interesting that the full dynamics of Edwards’ dust-gathering veto pen aren’t explained in the article, particularly since they’re so obvious (it seems to fall to us at the Hayride to point out obvious things the mainstream media patently refuses to note).

Namely, that Edwards doesn’t need to veto anything. All he has to do is to tell John Alario, his foreman in the Senate President’s chair, what he likes and doesn’t like and Alario will insure that no uncomfortable bills make it to Edwards’ desk.

This was also mostly true under Bobby Jindal’s term, of course. Alario killed most of the legislation Jindal didn’t like in the Senate before the governor had to deal with it. But it’s absolutely true now.

What this means is the Sanctuary Cities bills which have passed the House are highly unlikely to pass through the Senate. Edwards has made noises about supporting them, but nobody at the Capitol believes he would sign those two bills that passed the House. They’ll either be gutted in the Senate so that what Edwards signs turns out to be meaningless legislation, or they’ll be killed. You’ll know for sure this afternoon, when HB 1148, the bill by Rep. Valarie Hodges which prevents sanctuary-city policy, gets referred to a committee.

You can bet HB 1148 will be placed in the Senate & Governmental Affairs Committee that Karen Carter Peterson chairs. And when it gets there it will be killed, just like Sen. Beth Mizell’s bill to establish a historical preservation commission that would have the power to stop the removal of civil war and confederate monuments was killed in that committee. Mizell’s bill didn’t even belong there and Alario, nominally a Republican, let Peterson have it to kill.

If you don’t think that was done to benefit Edwards, who really would rather not be put in a position to have to make a call between alienating Mitch Landrieu and the Democrats in Orleans Parish without whom he wouldn’t have won election, or the rest of the state which overwhelmingly disagrees with them on bills like the sanctuary cities bill or the monuments bill, then you’re not paying attention.

John Alario does not have, and never has had, any ideological underpinnings of his own. What he’s interested in is power, and in Louisiana he knows power as a legislator comes through the governor’s good graces. So whatever the governor wants, Alario wants. We now have a Democrat governor, so Alario will make sure the Senate, which has an overwhelming number of Republicans but not an overwhelming number of conservatives by any means, does things pleasing to the Democrats – or at least doesn’t do things not pleasing to them.

For some reason, nobody seems willing to point this out. Alario gets more of a free ride than any legislator Louisiana has had in its history.

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HB 105, a bill that would make appropriations for the executive departments of state government, just made it out of the House Appropriations Committee on a 17-6 margin. The bill isn’t much to speak of, as it’s pretty normal fare, but there’s a wrinkle – Appropriations Chairman Cameron Henry included an amendment that sets up the Department of Justice with its own budget, rather than leaving the allocation of that budget up to the Division of Administration.

What that means, should the bill pass into law, is Attorney General Jeff Landry will have his own budget and isn’t dependent on the governor. This matters, because Landry is expected to emerge as a major pain in Edwards’ rear end and it would be expected that the governor would retaliate by hammering him on his budget.

The Appropriations Committee is also debating HB 1, the state’s budget bill. Henry is about to blow up a huge fight with the governor by completely rearranging the budget. Henry is explaining that the governor has essentially overfunded the Department of Health and Hospitals and screwed higher education, mostly by savaging the TOPS program, and his committee is fixing that.

The committee is debating the bill at press time but it’s likely to pass. And this is going to get interesting.

For example, what’s in this bill is a zeroing-out of the funding for the Inspector General’s office (which doesn’t do as much as we wish it would), and essentially giving those functions over to the Attorney General’s office. That’s going to be a lot of fun.

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Our readers already knew this was coming, but it’s actually happening. You will have a Kip Holden-vs.-Cedric Richmond congressional race this fall, and life is wonderful.

We’re not in the 2nd District. If we were we would be voting for the Sweet Meteor of Death in this race, and thought there would normally be a conflict since a typical candidate couldn’t serve both as president and in Congress. But that’s the beauty of the Sweet Meteor of Death – he takes care of everything.

WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

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And now, for Today’s Last Thing. It’s a tornado video, thankfully from someplace outside of Louisiana. Wray, Colorado, in particular…

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