SADOW: How Many Of These Reapportionment Maps Will JBE Veto?

The products of the Louisiana Legislature’s First Extraordinary Session on 2022 dedicated to reapportionment now head to the desk of Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards. Let’s see what happened and the likely futures of these.

Keep in mind that Republicans hold a supermajority plus one seat in the Senate, meaning party unity will override any Edwards veto. In the House of Representatives, they fall two short of this lofty perch of 70, but also have three no party members on which to draw, of which state Rep. Joe Marino typically leans their way whereas state Reps. Roy Daryl Adams and Malinda White normally cast their lots with Democrats.

Important to note is the final tallies for each chamber on each bill. Whether the GOP can reach the override threshold is a function of its members (including those who cast protest votes because they didn’t like how the plan affected their districts, who will return to the fold in case of a veto) who voted plus those absent who will support any override plus supportive no party members and Democrats. In all cases in the Senate, the threshold was met, so it’s the House where override questions would be and whose numbers are reported below.

Congress. Edwards has two non-choices, because HB 1 and SB 5 are the same bill. These keep one of six districts as majority-minority, where Democrats wanted two. For the former, it has a base of 72 with all no party and a Democrat, and for the latter it’s 71 with two no party and a Democrat.

House of Representatives. HB 14 adds one M/M district, but Democrats wanted at least one more. It starts from a base of 82, with two no party and 12 Democrats.

Senate. SB 1 adds one M/M district, but Democrats wanted more. It begins from a base of 73, with all no party and two Democrats.

Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. HB 3 keeps BESE with two elective M/M districts of eight, but Democrats wanted another. Its base begins at 74 with all no party and three Democrats.

Public Service Commission. HB 2 continues one M/M district of five, about which there wasn’t a partisan dispute. It will be signed into law.

Supreme Court. Without state or federal law or jurisprudence compelling its reapportionment and statute requiring a two-thirds vote, no majority coalesced to advance any bills regarding it.

The no party dissenter on Congress and the House was Adams, whose district would face changes making him unlikely to win reelection. He would be open to Edwards’ blandishments to switch on those he supported. However, Marino and White consistently backed the GOP proposals and Edwards would have to mete out a lot of political capital to get them to defect on one or more overrides (probably more for Marino than White).

More disturbingly to Edwards, Democrat state Rep. Francis Thompson consistently voted with the GOP, as he has been wont to do the term and seems unlikely to flip. These three consistent supporters set a base one more than needed on all bills to override successfully. Aside from Thompson, the only other Democrats to defect on more than HB 14 (there because it drew them districts not difficult to win reelection in, a number which included some of the least conservative members of the chamber) were (interestingly, and who didn’t on HB 14) state Rep. Randal Gaines on HB 3 and state Rep. Jeremy LaCombe on HB 3 and SB 1.

These rogue Democrats Edwards might depend upon to return to the fold except on HB 14 (which almost certainly guarantees its enactment), and he can capture Adams, but from there it becomes really tough to go from 33 to the 35 he needs on all other bills (the House has a vacancy at present). As a lame duck, there’s little he can offer to flip Republicans, and it will take much to convert two of Thompson, Marino or White on just one (two if equating the Congress ones) bill, much less three/four. Outside forces compel him to strike down HB1 and SB 5, and that’s probably all the ammunition he has left meaning the others likely make it into law, whether he vetoes these.

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