Governor John Bel Edwards announced on Monday that he had vetoed 17 bills from the regular legislative session, his longest list of rejections to date. The rejected proposals include two that would have redirected state education money to struggling public school students and others that targeted the governor’s pandemic policy.
Notably, there aren’t two bills on the list that Edwards has yet to sign into law, tough anti-abortion measures the governor said a week ago his staff were still working on. examine.
Senator Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, sponsored Senate Bill 203 so that families can removing struggling readers from public school and using state taxpayer money for private or home schooling. House Bill 194Rep. Rhonda Butler’s R-Ville Platte also targeted students reading behind the grade level.
Edwards’ veto posts for the bills said neither created real accounts for parents to receive money from the state, which he opposed taking away from schools. public. The grant would have been equal to the amount the state spends per student in public schools through its minimum basic plan formula.
The actual amount per student would vary by school district based on a variety of factors, including available local tax revenue and the number of low-income and special-needs students. School districts may have seen additional costs or savings as a result.
Students who used the college savings account to opt out of public school would have received more than $5,100 each on average, according to the tax bill for Hewitt’s bill.
Canceled COVID proposals
A trio of rejected bills do not specifically target COVID-19, but their provisions respond to Edwards’ widely criticized commands during the pandemic.
Rep. Larry Bagley, R-Stonewall, sought to make discrimination based on vaccination status a punishable crime. His House Bill 54 was watered down to obtain the approval of the Legislative Assembly. His final version would have opened government agencies and schools to legal action if they denied admission or employment to someone who was not vaccinated.
The governor’s veto message said the bill from Bagley, who chairs the House Health Committee, “…perpetuates the false narrative that people in Louisiana face vaccination mandates for access government services or attend schools and also seeks to undermine public confidence in safe and effective vaccines.”
Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, sought to exclude places of worship harsher state restrictions than those applied to any other type of business or public gathering. The governor said the bill could put congregations at risk in an emergency.
Edwards also shot down a Senate Bill 141 of Sen. Jay Morris, R-West Monroe, who reportedly banned insurance companies from denying coverage to anyone because they weren’t vaccinated.
Criminal justice veto
The governor also singled out a handful of proposed laws that sought tougher consequences for criminals.
Rep. Wayne McMahen, R-Minden, wanted to add resist a police officer with force or violence to the state’s violent crime list. Edwards said he rejected the bill because it ran counter to criminal justice reforms his administration put in place five years ago. Additionally, a number of existing laws on the book — such as aggravated assault, aggravated flight, and assault by a peace officer — are considered violent crimes with stiffer penalties.
House Bill 103 Rep. Polly Thomas, R-Metairie, reportedly demanded that convicted meth makers register with local law enforcement.
“Drug addiction is a serious problem and we should be focusing on treatment resources rather than placing a scarlet letter on someone convicted of this drug offense alone,” the governor’s veto message said.
Senate Bill 304 of Sen. Stewart Cathey, R-Monroe, sought to make it harder for anyone convicted of killing a police officer or first responder in the line of duty to receive a good time in jail. The governor said he vetoed the bill because it did not distinguish whether a defendant knew the victim was a police officer or whether the death was intentional.
Edwards also rejected a bill by Rep. Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville, that would have forced judges to revoke a defendant’s bail after a post-conviction arrest. The governor said the proposal would have denied due process rights.
Political bills snubbed
Seabaugh also wanted to allow the Legislature to attempt to override the governor’s vetoes during the regular session. without having to adjourn and resume. Edwards said the proposal violates the state Constitution, which outlines veto override protocols.
—Sam Karlin (@samkarlin) June 20, 2022
The Secretary of State was reportedly required to conduct an additional post-election survey of voters under House Bill 35 of Rep. Les Farnum, R-Sulphur. Edwards vetoed a similar measure last year. He said that was unnecessary because parish election officials already go through their voter records every year, and another web from the secretary of state would make it easier to remove voters from rolls.
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