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Gov. Edwards vetoes transgender sports bill; House speaker, Senate pres. support veto override session

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 3:46 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 11:57 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Gov. John Bel Edwards announced on June 22 that he vetoed Senate Bill 156 authored by Sen. Beth Mizell during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session, which would prevent transgender girls and women from participating on athletic teams or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.

Senate President Page Cortez (R-Lafayette) released a statement on Wednesday, June 30 about a possible veto override session.

“While the Legislature has not yet received any official Veto Messages from the Governor, I believe that if the administration does ultimately veto SB 156 (The Fairness in Women’s Sports Act) that the members of the Senate will likely proceed with the Constitutionally mandated Veto Override session set to begin on July 20th.”

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) said on June 23 that he supports a veto override session between July 20 and July 24 in an attempt to override the governor’s veto of the bill. Under Louisiana’s constitution, a veto session is automatically scheduled when the governor shoots down legislation but the session is only held if there is a majority of the House and Senate agree to it.

RELATED LINK: Gov. Edwards signs more bills on June 22

Edwards took to Twitter on the day of the veto and released the following statement:

“As I have said repeatedly when asked about this bill, discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana,” said Edwards.

If the veto session is held, a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate is required to override the governor.

According to the governor, another reason he used his veto power, in this case, is the NCAA would likely not allow the 2022 Final Four to be played in New Orleans if the bill became a law.

Louisiana Trans Advocates released the following statement the day Edwards vetoed the bill:

“We’re proud to share the news that Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed SB 156, a bill that sought to empower discrimination against transgender youth, banning them from sports. Like all students, transgender kids deserve the same chances to learn teamwork, sportsmanship, leadership, and self-discipline, and to build a sense of belonging with their peers. We know that opportunities to play sports are already unavailable to trans youth across most of the Pelican State. There are many hills to climb before we achieve full equality here in Louisiana, and Louisiana Trans Advocates, alongside our partners at Forum for Equality, are here for the fight. Transgender kids want the same opportunities other kids do: to be a part of a community where they feel they belong. Gov. Edwards sent a strong message to the trans youth who were consistently attacked in this legislative session that he’s their governor too,” said Dylan Waguespack, Board President, Louisiana Trans Advocates.

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