(Jil Center Square) – Louisiana’s legislative leaders officially canceled a veto waiver session for 2022, leaving in place the governor’s rejection of proposals to strengthen school choice, improve election integrity and protecting religious freedom, among others.
A total of 25 senators and 39 representatives returned their ballots by Tuesday’s deadline to override the veto waiver session this year. The Louisiana Constitution requires a veto override session unless a majority of lawmakers in either house withdraw.
Fourteen Republicans and 11 Democrats in the upper house triggered the threshold, although a majority of the 105 House representatives agreed to meet.
Senate Speaker Patrick Page Cortez, R-Lafayette and House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, formally announced the cancellation of the 2022 veto waiver session in a letter Tuesday.
“There wouldn’t be the support to override a single veto, which is why some members of the Senate considered it a colossal waste of money to show up and then kick off the same day without accomplish nothing,” Cortez told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.
The announcement means 27 vetoes issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards will remain in place, including nearly 20 that were passed by the Legislature with broad bipartisan support.
The decision comes after Sen. Bodi White, R-Baton Rouge, announced he could not attend the waiver session due to surgery and Sen. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs, swore not to vote to nullify a bill.
Republican leaders in the state, members of Louisiana’s conservative caucus, school choice advocates and others have pressured lawmakers to return to the capital to try anyway. Several lawmakers told the media they were disappointed their colleagues chose to stay home.
“There were so many bills that passed near unanimously that were so good for the state,” Rep. Michael Echols, R-Monore, told KNOE.
“For us, going back into a veto waiver session costs between $25,000 and $70,000 for a day or two,” Echols said. “I think it’s a small price to pay.”
Sen. Jay Morris, R-West Monroe, noted Republicans are at least two votes short of overriding one of Edwards’ vetoes and said he voted to cancel the session to save expense to taxpayers.
“At the end of the day, if you can’t accomplish anything, why go?” he said to KNOE. “In my opinion, it would have been a waste of money. We would have gone to Baton Rouge and accomplished nothing.”
“I absolutely think some bills needed to be struck down, but the votes weren’t there,” Morris said. “It’s impossible according to the constitution if we don’t have 26 votes in the Senate.”
Bills opposed by Edwards would have created college savings accounts for families of students with special needs or those who struggle with reading, which could have been used to pursue educational options outside of the school system. public education. Another vetoed bill included amendments to the state’s corporate charter school law that would have allowed the state Board of Elementary-Secondary Education to approve charters, bypassing local school boards.
Others would have demanded further investigation of registered voters, prevented emergency rules for churches that are more restrictive than those for businesses and increased penalties for felons convicted of killing a police officer or first responder. .