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Gov. Edwards not surprised veto override session will take place; others react

Republicans will seek to override Edwards veto of a transgender bill
Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - At the state capitol, Louisiana lawmakers will hold a historic veto override session next week after Governor John Bel Edwards vetoed more than two dozen bills including a controversial transgender bill many Republican lawmakers think should become law.

Legislators had until midnight Thursday to send in ballots to make sure there was not a veto override session. Edwards reacted Friday morning.

“It obviously is no surprise,” said Edwards.

Edwards is a Democrat and Republicans control both the House and Senate. He sticks by his decision to veto 28 bills passed during the regular legislative session in June.

“There’s not a veto that I issued that I don’t fully stand behind for the reasons set forth in the veto letters,” said Edwards.

Senate Bill 156 which Edwards vetoed bans transgender females from competing in school sports that correspond with their gender identity.

Sen. Kirk Talbot, a Republican who represents Jefferson Parish just outside of New Orleans is a “yes” vote on overturning the governor’s veto.

“We owe it to our women and to our young ladies who compete in sports to protect them and allow an atmosphere where they can compete and no one’s saying that transgender can’t compete but to have transgender females competing with biological females is a problem,” said Talbot.

Talbot said he and many lawmakers have heard a lot from voters who support the legislation.

“You have the transgender bill which is getting a lot of attention. We are all getting a lot of phone calls, a lot of emails, a lot of letters,” said Talbot.

Mike Sherman is FOX 8′s political analyst.

“We know Democrats are going to oppose an override overwhelmingly, it comes down to a very small number of Republicans who will know want to see these bills as law,” said Sherman.

The NCAA issued a statement related to transgender athletes.

The NCAA Board of Governors firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports. in our values of inclusion and fair competition. When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy, and free of discrimination should be selected.

Governor Edwards and Mayor Latoya Cantrell are concerned an override of the veto could put New Orleans’ hosting of the 2022 Final Four in jeopardy.

“I do not want that to happen to the city of New Orleans, but it will also impact the state of Louisiana it will cut off our nose in spite of our face and that’s not who we are as a city,” said Cantrell.

Dylan Waguespack, President of Louisiana Trans Advocates responded to the veto override session with a statement:

“The people of Louisiana elected our legislature to solve real, critical issues facing everyday Louisianans. It’s baffling that they would instead choose to spend their time and an extraordinary amount of taxpayer dollars attempting to further discrimination against transgender children. Rather than overriding the governor’s veto of SB 156 to solve a problem that does not exist, the legislature should do something to address the very real epidemic of violence and harassment trans kids face in Louisiana K-12 schools.”

Talbot says he too does not want any transgender people harassed.

“We certainly don’t want to see anybody harassed but you know a lot of people have said that this is a very divisive bill and what’s divisive is boys playing against girls in competitive sports,” said Talbot.

With Republicans showing their political strength in holding the veto override session Edwards opposes there are questions about the impact on the governor’s future agenda.

Sherman said, “The governor still has an overwhelming amount of power under the Louisiana constitution but certainly this precedent takes power away from the governor and gives it to the legislature and could lead to a very interesting session next year and beyond.”

Edwards also faced questions about and said he is not concerned.

“No, first of all, it is part of the process that is spelled out in the Constitution but at the end of the day there is a big difference between a majority required to come in and the two-thirds required to actually override,” said Edwards.

The veto override session begins July 20.

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