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Here’s why overriding governor’s vetoes won’t be so easy for Republicans

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 6:58 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Lawmakers have to vote on whether they want to hold a veto override session this month but the fight to victory may not be as easy as some Republicans may hope.

Legislators have until midnight on Thursday, July 15, to submit their ballots or not. The problem for Republicans won’t be the simple majority needed to hold the session. Instead, they may have some trouble getting the supermajority needed to overturn any veto.

It would be the first veto override session held since the new Louisiana Constitution was ratified in 1974. The session could be triggered if a simple majority in both chambers call for it, something Republicans are almost certain will happen.

“We’ve learned it’s highly likely that we’ll go into a veto override session,” said Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath).

But overriding any of the governor’s vetoes will not be so easy. Over in the Senate, Republican Ronnie Johns (R-Lake Charles) recently announced he will not be attending the session due to a knee replacement surgery. His doctor has ordered him not to travel for a minimum of four weeks. Johns recently told reporters that “missing the veto session is one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in my 22 years of service to our state.”

“Which leaves the exact amount required to veto override at 26 votes,” added Miguez.

And Republicans in the House only hold 68 of the 70 seats needed for a supermajority to override any vetoes.

“So, in order to be successful, we’re gonna need two Independents or an Independent and a Democrat at least to join Republicans and to stand with things like our daughters and granddaughters, our Second Amendment rights, transparency in government,” Miguez continued.

Rep. Joseph Marino (I-Gretna) is one of those Independents.

“I’m not concerning myself with the party politics on what the Republicans want to do or the Democrats want to do but, you know, I’m voting against the veto session,” said Marino.

And Rep. Patrick Jefferson (D-Homer) said Democrats seem to be on the same page.

“I’m hopeful that as a body we will come together and do what needs to be done as it relates to ensuring that we all stay home next week and tend to our constituents,” said Jefferson.

It means House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzalez) will have to use his political influence to persuade some of the members of the House. Among the hottest topics to be considered for an override are transgender athletes taking part in sports and whether you need a permit to conceal-carry a firearm.

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