BATON ROUGE (AP) — Despite some Louisiana Republicans hoping to overturn the governor's recent vetoes, including legislation that would have implemented tougher criminal sentences and banning COVID-19 vacciation status checks to enter certain buildings, the GOP-dominated legislature voted not to hold an override session this week.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards rejected 29 pieces of recently passed legislation, all but one authored by Republican lawmakers.
Under Louisiana state law, an override session is automatically scheduled when a governor vetoes legislation, unless a majority of lawmakers in either chamber say it’s not necessary. Historically, a majority of representatives and senators send in ballots saying that the session is not needed. However, since 2021, the Republican majority Legislature has returned to the Capitol twice to override the governor’s vetoes.
Lawmakers had until the end of Monday to send in ballots opposing an override session. Twenty-five of the 37 senators and 39 of the 105 representatives returned ballots. With a majority of the Senate voting against the session, it was cancelled, Senate President Page Cortez and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder announced in a letter Tuesday morning.
Bills vetoed by Edwards, following the 2022 regular legislative session, included legislation that would have toughened criminal sentences and banned government entities from denying building entry based on a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status.
One of the rejected bills would have established the crime of resisting a police officer with force or violence. Edwards described the proposed new crime as “antithetical,” saying it would backtrack on 2017 reforms that pushed to change Louisiana’s status as the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country.
Edwards also vetoed two education-related bills that would have allowed students to leave public schools and use state money to attend private schools or to pursue other education options. And he rejected a bill that would have required anyone over age 17 convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine to register with local law enforcement.