By now it seems pretty clear that there will in fact be a veto session at the Louisiana State Capitol next week, and the state legislature will come in to vote on some number of the 30 or so bills Gov. John Bel Edwards struck down in a frenzy of vetoes following the regular session in June. Edwards wanted very badly to hold off the veto session’s occurrence, but he can’t.
What he can do, now that it’s fairly clear the session will happen, is to insure the session is a failure. And that he might very well manage, thanks in large measure to one fraudulent Lake Charles politician whom he appears to have bought off. We present to you state senator Ronnie Johns, who yesterday decided to insult the intelligence of every observer of Louisiana politics from Shongaloo to Delacroix.
State Sen. Ronnie Johns, 71, said he received a full knee replacement surgery on July 7, after the procedure was delayed in 2020 because of the pandemic, hurricanes and legislative sessions. Postponing surgery again wasn’t an option, he said. His doctor has ordered him not to travel for a minimum of four weeks, preventing Johns from participating in the veto session. Johns informed Senate President Page Cortez that he will miss the session — if one is called later this week.
“This decision to not participate in the veto session is one of the hardest I’ve made in my 22 years of service to our state,” Johns said. “I take my legislative responsibilities very seriously but my health and well-being must be my first responsibility to my family and myself. The overwhelming response from Senate colleagues and local supporters who I have confided in are in total agreement with this.”
We’d like to see Johns supply us the names of the people he talked to who think a knee surgery is an excuse not to do the job he swore an oath to do. We’d like to talk to them.
Because what he told the newspapers is complete bullshit – shameful, insulting bullshit, at that. It disqualifies him utterly.
Nobody is asking Ronnie Johns to run a 4×100 relay in Tokyo. Nobody is asking him to guard Cameron Thomas on the perimeter. He’s being asked to sit in a comfortable chair and press red and green buttons on pieces of legislation he’s already given votes on.
There is a current state representative, whose name is DeWith Carrier. He’s from Oakdale, which is north and a little east of Ronnie Johns’ district. Carrier is actually further away from Baton Rouge than Johns. And he’s in a wheelchair. But DeWith Carrier brings himself to the capitol, and he’s almost always there voting on bill after bill.
Scott Simon was a state representative from St. Tammany Parish for a dozen years before he termed out in 2019. He was in a wheelchair. Simon didn’t miss many votes either during his time in the legislature.
How come DeWith Carrier can vote from his wheelchair, just as Simon did for 12 years, and Ronnie Johns can’t come to the Capitol on crutches a couple of weeks after knee surgery?
There’s a history in that legislature. It doesn’t favor Ronnie Johns’ malingering.
In 1984, when Louisiana’s then-governor Edwin Edwards was determined to change state law and eliminate the formerly elected position of Superintendent of Education, turning the position into an appointed one, this happened…
The following morning, the senators began to assemble in the chamber to convene on the order of business. Little did they know they were about to witness a show of determination by Edwards that cannot be matched. None of them were aware that Edwards had dispatched a State Police helicopter to retrieve Senator Nat Keifer from his home in New Orleans. Keifer had not been present in the legislature for nearly a year due to a liver disease that had progressed beyond recovery and left him in his final days of life. The chamber rose in tears when he stepped from behind the curtain. Many of them thought that they would never see him, again. When the question was called, the bill failed to pass the Senate by one vote, but the Senate body got the point. Edwards would stop at nothing to pass the bill. The following day, the bill was returned to the floor for regular business; and passed. All that remained was the House.
Guess that tells you the difference between what a governor can command and what the people of Louisiana can.
Which in the case of Ronnie Johns is highly relevant.
Because while everybody understands just how thin this knee-surgery excuse is, they also understand something else.
Namely, that Ronnie Johns is widely understood to be days away from an appointment to head the state gaming board, one of the cushiest jobs in Louisiana government. The current slimeball named Edwards who sits in the governor’s mansion has dangled this in front of Johns ever since the previous holder of the position, former State Police chief of staff Mike Noel, quit the job rather than go through a confirmation hearing at which he would have been harshly interrogated over the cover-up of the Ronald Greene case.
Ronnie Johns is from Lake Charles, where there are a few decent-sized casinos more than capable of offering lots of swag and perks to a local pol who heads the state gaming board. That’s a lot of water to wet your beak from.
And your typical old-school Louisiana politician like Ronnie Johns would do practically anything to get a sweet gig like that.
Like ditch a veto session and put Edwards within one vote of being able to sustain every single veto. Because there are 27 Republican state senators out of 39, and if Johns is going to take a powder there will then be 26 Republicans out of 38 for the session. All Edwards needs is to flip one vote or have one more Republican who can’t make it, and he’s golden.
Which means we don’t get constitutional carry in Louisiana as Texas has. And that the state legislature won’t act to protect girls’ sports from insane biological males wishing to invade them. Or prevent hideously corrupt radical billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg from polluting our elections with corrosive private donations to select local elections offices. Or defund radical leftist teachers’ unions like the American Federation of Teachers, whose crackpot president Randi Weingarten has put the country on notice that her members will impose Critical Race Theory on every classroom they can.
Ronnie Johns might want everybody to believe he’s tapping out of those fights, which are damned important to the people of this state, because of a bum knee. The people of Louisiana have seen enough self-serving lies from our used-car salesmen politicians to know better.
Tell you what, Ronnie – if you’re legitimately too laid up to make the session, then prove it by publicly renouncing any future appointment to the state gaming board or anything else from John Bel Edwards. Do that and maybe we’ll believe you. Otherwise, limp your way into that building and do your job, and don’t give us any more lame excuses.