Yes, We Need A Veto Override Session

Yesterday, the Louisiana Conservative Caucus put out a statement of the obvious…

Louisiana Conservative Caucus Calls for Veto Override Session

The Conservative Caucus stands in support of the people of Louisiana and all Republicans in the House and Senate in calling for a veto override session.

BATON ROUGE, June 23 – In a show of support for all Republican legislators and their legislation, the Louisiana Conservative Caucus is calling for a veto override session to correct the Governor’s unilateral actions. This year, the Governor has vetoed legislation ranging from religious freedom and personal liberty to criminal justice reform and special needs education.

The members of the Conservative Caucus are asking all of our House and Senate colleagues to join us in calling a veto override session, and we are asking the public to encourage your members of the House and Senate. “The legislature represents the will of the people of Louisiana,” said Representative Rhonda Butler (R – Turkey Creek), a founding member of the Conservative Caucus. She added, “Overriding the vetoes is not about politics; it’s about checks and balances and serving the people who elected us to be their voice in Baton Rouge.”

“The Conservative Caucus has always supported and defended our Republican colleagues,” said Representative Jack McFarland (R – Winnfield), Chairman of the Conservative Caucus. He continued, “And if the majority of Republicans in the House and Senate thought these bills were worthy of becoming law, then we should all band together to ensure that becomes reality.”

The Conservative Caucus can be found on Facebook @LaConservativeCaucus and online at www.LaConservativeCaucus.com.

Jeff Sadow noted yesterday that John Bel Edwards vetoed some 23 bills, a ridiculous number, while he was in cahoots with partisan Democrat hack federal judge Shelly Dick to attempt to force the Legislature to abandon the congressional redistricting map they’d passed over his veto earlier this year.

Edwards has operated in supreme bad faith with Louisiana’s legislature since he was a member of the House, but certainly since his election as governor in 2015. That bad faith extends to the people of Louisiana; Edwards lied his way into the governor’s mansion by stating definitively that he didn’t believe Louisiana’s state budget – which he said was nearing a “fiscal cliff” at the time – required a tax increase, and no sooner did he win election that he threatened the end of college football in the state if he didn’t get one.

It turned out that no tax increase was necessary. The state had plenty enough revenue to satisfy a responsible budget. It just needed a tax increase to fund Edwards’ extravagances. Louisiana has had massive net outmigration, a stagnant economy and alarming cultural decline ever since.

Then Edwards lied his way to re-election not only by repeatedly spreading untruths about Republican challengers Ralph Abraham and Eddie Rispone but by covering up the killing of Ronald Greene by state troopers on a Union Parish roadside in May 2019. The lies about the Greene case extended all the way to this year, when Edwards knowingly lied to House Speaker Clay Schexnayder in insisting Greene died from a car wreck.

Given this, and given that the Legislature’s tepid opposition to Edwards’ agenda and governance has made them complicit in this state’s severe decline in competitiveness with its neighbors, there ought to be no question that the legislature should see its back – and that of its constituents – is against the wall, with no option but to fight him to the political death.

John Bel Edwards vetoed a bill giving parents of special needs children the resources to shop for their best educational options, for crying out loud. Can there be any more disgustingly slavish obedience to the whims and delights of the communist teacher unions with whom he’s allied against the people of Louisiana?

As Sadow noted, the full slate of 23 bills he’s vetoed contains a host of measures the vast majority of Louisiana’s voters would endorse…

…[A]mong the current struck bills are a couple of items strengthening election security similar to those he vetoed last year, others related to emergency powers of the governor that would mandate greater oversight and ensure personal bodily autonomy or in behavior that doesn’t dilute state emergency dictates, bills he considered reversals of his criminal justice initiative that overall has failed to save money but would have closed loopholes with unintended consequences that reduced disincentives for criminal behavior, a pair that increased educational opportunities outside of the one-size-fits-all model of public education, and, akin to his treatment of the Adams bill, items forwarded by legislators that he feels slighted by with their votes and rhetoric.

Perhaps the bills with the poorest excuses given in veto messages that are the most transparently political and half-baked concerns those of educational choice and election integrity. HB 194 by Republican state Rep. Rhonda Butler would have diverted the state share of per pupil expenses from a local education agency to another education provider – while allowing the public school to retain its local funding for that student, thus increasing per capita spending – for students with disabilities that a family found suitable as a way to better meet a child’s needs. Yet mean-spiritedly Edwards vetoed it, alleging, despite the very wording of the bill, that it would divert funds from public schools, supposedly favored “wealthy” families even though the bill made no distinction (and he obviously has no idea of the enormous expenses families with children with disabilities face), and brought up bogus imaginary accountability issues related to other state-sponsored voucher programs – all because he is joined at the hip with teacher unions and education bureaucrats and wants to negate any threat to their power and privilege, even at the expense of children with disabilities.

That disgusting and nakedly political response is nearly matched by his response to HB 35 by GOP state Rep. Les Farnum. This would create an additional canvass of voters each year at close to no expense. Yet Edwards vetoed it (again), giving the Twilight Zone explanation that it would “make it easier to remove eligible voters from the rolls” even though it follows existing law in terms of eligibility and would remove only ineligible voters by law, such is his zeal to make up anything that could justify an obvious move to dampen security.

I’ve suggested that Edwards’ perfidy on the congressional redistricting controversy should have induced Schexnayder to call him to testify on the Greene case in front of the Committee of the Whole, rather than the select committee investigating the cover-up. That ought very much to be on the table as a feature of an override session.

The guess is there won’t be one, for a couple of reasons. First, while we pick on Schexnayder relentlessly, Senate President Page Cortez is softer than Schexnayder where it comes to Edwards, and the Senate Republicans are probably an election cycle away from having the kind of fighting spirit necessary to directly challenge the governor. It’s true that the Senate has twice voted to override an Edwards veto – first in an override session last year on Sen. Beth Mizell’s girls’ sports bill, which fell two votes short in the House, and then on the congressional map this year during the regular session. But the kind of high-stakes fights an override on many of these bills would entail might be too rich for Cortez and the Senate.

Hopefully that take is wrong. We’ll see. After all, these people had to take three months out of their lives this spring debating policy measures they believe will better the lot of the people of this state – to just give up on them because John Bel Edwards, who is grossly out of step with the majority of the folks and is demonstrably a bad-faith actor to boot, wants to play dictator instead simply doesn’t compute.

There is another issue to be resolved here which an override session should be used to vet. Namely, that one of the House’s Democrat members Malinda White, a representative from Bogalusa, last year switched to independent and is now calling herself a Republican. White, you’ll remember, a little more than a year ago threatened to kill her now-Republican colleague Alan Seabaugh on the floor of the House and was not punished for it; she then skipped last year’s veto override session and didn’t vote on the girls’ sports bill override (when it was needed). But then she went from D to I and now to R and, stunningly, was welcomed into the House GOP delegation.

All of this is about White running for parish president in Washington Parish, a working-class place where Trumpian sentiments have set in. She doesn’t have a future in politics with a D next to her name, so now she wants to use the Republican brand to further her ambitions.

It’s disgusting, but fine. Have the override session and demand White’s strict obedience on all 23 vetoed bills. If you get it, and Democrat Francis Thompson votes with the GOP as he’s almost exclusively doing these days, you’re now at 70 votes for an override.

On all 23 vetoes.

And assuming party discipline holds in the Senate, John Bel Edwards officially becomes a lame duck governor.

Who gets to testify about his Ronald Greene cover-up as part of his defenestration.

Don’t say he doesn’t deserve it. He does. And our legislature could use the redemption after the past several years.

Interested in more news from Louisiana? We've got you covered! See More Louisiana News
Previous Article
Next Article
Join the Conversation - Download the Speakeasy App.

Trending on The Hayride