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Odds growing daily lawmakers will return for Veto Override Session, for transgender athlete bill and concealed carry without a permit bill

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 10:50 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana state lawmakers are building up momentum to do something not seen at the capitol in more than 45 years.

Some hope to start a Special Session in July, to overturn some of the governor’s vetoes.

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

This is over probably the two most controversial bills that came out of the regular legislative session. One dealing with concealed carry changes and the other with transgender athletes.

On Wednesday, June 30, Senate President Page Cortez (R) said, ”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 20.”

And just last week, Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder (R) released a statement saying, “Article III Section 18 of the Louisiana Constitution is clear on the process to hold a veto session. It requires the majority of members of the House and Senate to be in agreement. While I do not have the authority to call one, I do support a veto session and I am in favor of overriding the governor’s veto of the Fairness in Women’s sports Act (SB156) by Senator Mizell.”

The odds now growing daily, that the State Capitol will once again be bustling in July.

“I look forward to it. I don’t think anybody desires a bunch of special sessions, but if that’s what it takes to do the work of the people. I’m hearing strongly, as well as legislators across the state, I know how much I’m hearing from e-mails, texts and phone calls, this thing is really on the minds of the people,” said State Representative Rick Edmonds (R), District 66.

“I know on the House side they have the votes; I’m hearing the Senate side has the votes. And this is a political move to really, you know stick the finger in the eye of the governor,” said State Representative Ted James, (D) District 101.

Republicans say a veto override session is necessary if the governor officially vetoes (he said he would) the ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act’ which seeks to prevent transgender girls and women from participating on athletic teams, or in sporting events designated for girls or women at elementary, secondary and postsecondary schools.

“It’s largely un-needed for several reasons. Number 1 LHSAA already has a policy that does what the legislation is seeking to do. We have not had a single case in Louisiana where this is a problem. And I think it’s just part of the Republicans’ discriminatory nature. It’s not an issue in our state for us to be spending taxpayer dollars on a veto override session,” said Rep. James.

“So I think the flip of the coin is, if there’s any discrimination at this, it’s against the women and the girls. And that’s the reason we stand go strong against it,” said Rep. Edmonds.

“So it seeks to prohibit conduct that isn’t happening, but at the very real risk of losing things that are so vital to our economy and recovery from the pandemic, and try to restart tourism and investment in Louisiana,” said Governor Edwards on Wednesday.

Another vetoed bill Republicans aren’t happy with is Senate Bill 118.

That bill hoped to allow those 21 and older to carry a concealed carry weapon without a permit.

“Again, I land on the personal liberties side on most issues, and this is being one of those. And I think the governor knows that nationwide, we’ve already had 20 states that have already approved, or it’s involved already in the constitutional carry. So, I think it has great potential of it being overturned,” said Rep. Edmonds.

“With the large number of deaths that we’ve had especially here in Baton Rouge with gun violence, I think it’s irresponsible for us to allow folks to conceal a weapon without any type of training. You know, folks don’t understand the laws when it comes to self-defense, the training is important, how to use that gun is very important,” said Rep. James.

“70% of the people in Louisiana think we have the right balance in place today, where you have to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I happen to agree with that,” said Gov. Edwards.

Republicans say they have the votes to override the governor’s veto on these key bills, and some involving infrastructure To override a veto from the governor, you have to get 2/3′s vote in both the upper and lower chambers. That’s 26 of the 39 senators and 70 of the 105 House members.

That Veto Override Session could begin on July 20.

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