For whatever reason, Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed over twice as many bills in the recently concluded 2021 regular legislative session as he ever has in any prior session, and many of these bills were passed by large majorities of both chambers. This was a slap in the face not just to Republican legislators but to every legislator who voted for any one of these bills.
Now under Louisiana’s constitution, a veto override session is automatic unless a majority of legislators in either chamber returns ballots waiving the veto override session. Our legislators must cast these ballots by midnight, July 15th, if they wish to waive the veto override session. That is to say that if they do nothing with the ballots mailed to them last week (or simply use theirs for target practice, as did Rep. Blake Miguez), they will be considered to be in favor of holding a veto override session.
Let me repeat: A majority in both chambers must refrain from sending in their ballots for the session to take place. The five-day session would begin on July 20th. But why did the Governor veto so many good bills, thus tempting fate? And why now?
Perhaps the Governor wished to make a point that he is still a power in the land. I have speculated before that as he is entering the latter years of his eight year reign, his political strength will soon be in sharp decline. But such a display of power comes with a high cost, because many of the vetoed bills were widely popular among Louisiana voters.
Perhaps the Governor wished to burnish his credentials on the national Democrat scene. After all, he has nowhere else to go in Louisiana politics, excepting an expensive long-shot race against one of our Senators. That might explain why many of the bills he vetoed should have been acceptable to a truly “moderate” Democrat. His sharp turn to the left can be readily interpreted as a necessary precondition to his seeking higher elective or appointive office in the national Democrat fold.
Whatever the reason or reasons that John Bel Edwards chose to veto a record twenty-eight bills from the 2021 regular legislative session, let us hope, no, let us DEMAND, that every Republican legislator will do his or her duty and refrain from sending in a ballot to waive the veto-override session. This session is exactly the needed remedy for a bullying and dictatorial governor who has now completely forsaken his promise to Louisiana’s electorate that he would govern as a moderate.
In the coming days over a million Republican voters will be watching the situation closely. They do not expect to be disappointed by their very own legislators!
LOUIS GURVICH, Chairman
Republican Party of Louisiana