Yes, There Ought To Be A Veto Override Session, But No, There Won’t Likely Be One

You’re seeing a lot of talk among Republican legislators this week about the prospect of a legislative session, probably beginning on July 19 and continuing for a couple of days, to override vetoes of several bills Gov. John Bel Edwards has scratched from this year’s legislative session. We’re here to tell you that talk is generally just that, talk.

A veto override session is so rare that it might well be unprecedented. We can’t remember one happening, and nobody we’ve asked about this can remember one, either.

Still, there is lots of talk about one.

Plus this, from the Baton Rouge Business Report’s Jeremy Alford…

When he made his way out of the House chamber last week, just moments after lawmakers adjourned the 2021 regular session, Rep. Raymond Crews remarked that he was among a group of conservative legislators who were hoping for a veto override session this summer.

“I’m thinking July 20 though July 24, or somewhere around there,” said Crews, R-Shreveport. “We can have a really big impact with that one little, small act.”

Just a couple of terms ago, a veto override session would have been unimaginable. But today, with a Democrat controlling the executive branch and Republicans dominating the legislative branch, it’s a predictable topic—however rare and unlikely veto sessions are in Louisiana.

Moreover, the possibility or threat of a veto session serves as another reminder that the regular session has ended, but there are still many decisions to come. There’s also another special legislative election around the corner, the tax reform package that was adopted last week still needs voter approval and the work begins now for a redistricting session that’s slated for February 2022.

Maybe we’re wrong and maybe a veto override session is possible. There is no doubt there are bills outstanding which cry for one.

SB 156, for example, which was Sen. Beth Mizell’s bill protecting girls’ sports from a transgender invasion, is going to be vetoed. But that bill had veto-proof majorities in both houses – it got 78 votes in the House and 29 in the Senate. You would think there would be support to override Edwards’ veto.

Then there’s the constitutional carry bill Rep. Seabaugh referenced above, SB 118 by Sen. Jay Morris. It also had a veto-proof majority – 73 votes in the House and 27 in the Senate.

And the most important of the bills, HB 20 Rep. Blake Miguez, is the Zuckerbucks bill. That one would prohibit the use of private dollars to fund elections offices in the state. We made a big deal about that during the session.

A Louisiana legislature worth having would call itself into session and take care of these issues.

The problem is that Clay Schexnayder and Page Cortez, the House Speaker and Senate President, have shown themselves clearly unfit to run such a legislature. Instead, they’ve played pet poodle to Edwards at every turn. We’re told things are so bad that Schexnayder actually asked Edwards to drop some line-item vetoes of projects in conservative House members’ districts in order to punish them for stepping out of line against Schexnayder’s leadership. It’s hard to imagine Schexnayder paying back Edwards for that favor by calling an override session for the first time in memory.

Particularly given the public sentiment against Schexnayder on the part of so many Republican voters, who will be in the ears of their elected legislators. Under such circumstances, the fewer the opportunities for legislators to get together and potentially discuss a vote of no confidence the better.

No, we don’t expect an override session. One is warranted, but we’d be very surprised to see it.

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