SEABAUGH: Yes, A Veto Override Session Is Necessary, And Here’s Why

This is why the “Veto Override Session” needs to happen. Crime is rampant across our state.

A letter from the Bayou Mama Bears sent to Louisiana State Senators and Representatives last week…

“Yesterday in New Orleans a man named BJ Brown executed his ex-girlfriend in broad daylight and the incident was captured on video. He shot her and left her in a pool of blood on the concrete of a parking lot. When she was calling out for help after being shot, he walked back up to her, looked her in the face, and executed her. I have copied the link to this video for you to review and caution you that it is disturbing. The perpetrator had been arrested 25 times since 2007. He was on probation at the time of this murder. After he executed her, he fled to Tennessee and when police went to apprehend him, he shot at the police officers, hitting one. As I type this letter, he is still armed and being chased by police. Sadly, a perpetrator history like this has become all too familiar in Louisiana.

Unfortunately, videos like this one are also commonplace now. This violence does not only affect residents of Orleans parish, it affects all of Louisiana and as we can see, the country as a whole. Thousands of people travel to New Orleans to bring their children to sporting events, to enjoy the restaurants, or participate in festivals. In this incident, our “soft on crime” approach in Louisiana has resulted in the execution of a woman and has now changed the life of a police officer in Tennessee. The officer that has just been shot will question how a man with 25 arrests was out on bond.

We have seen this crime problem plaguing other cities in Louisiana, like Shreveport, as well. Almost 20 children were shot in Shreveport in the past year and a half. The crime there involving repeat offenders is at an all-time high.

Recognizing these crime problems, most of you voted in support of legislation intended to address this issue. Many of those bills were vetoed by the Governor who claimed that he wanted to protect his “Justice Reinvestment” experiment from 2017. Justice reinvestment resulted in no actual programs to benefit offenders and only focused on releasing criminals from jail as soon as possible. This is how a man with 25 arrests can be free to execute women and police officers. Governor Edwards vetoed several bills so that he could maintain his “justice reinvestment”, including but not limited to the following:

House Bill 99 made violence against a police officer a crime of violence. The veto discredits violence against police officers. For those of us who are members of law enforcement, married to members of law enforcement, or simply support the job they are doing, we feel strongly that our police, deputies, and all law enforcement officers must be protected. This is especially important when we rely on them to defend us against record breaking murder and violence, and they are being shot at as they do so.

House Bill 544 stated that a person with 4 or more felony convictions would not get the same “good time” in jail as someone convicted of their first offense. This veto would allow someone with 43 felony convictions to receive the same good time as someone convicted of the same offense, but with no prior felony convictions. What message does this send to first offenders?

House Bill 1059 stated that if you are convicted of a felony and are out on bond before sentencing, and you commit another felony, you no longer have the right to be out on bond. This veto will allow a person to be found guilty of a felony and continue to commit more felonies and have the right to stay out of jail and perpetuate more crimes. And this is exactly what is happening.

I have also attached a list of almost 2,000 signatures from people throughout Louisiana that are asking each of you to participate in a veto override session to restore the laws that protect our families. You have been elected to protect these families. We rely on you to stand up, our lives literally depend on it.”

Laura Cannizzaro Rodrigue
Bayou Mama Bears

The deadline to respond is July 11th.

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