Veto Override Session Likely to Revolve Around Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation

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The Louisiana Legislature will head into a veto override session on Tuesday, after a majority of lawmakers declined to submit ballots that would have cancelled the veto session. Although Gov. Edwards vetoed 25 bills and portions of three pieces of budget legislation, it’s believed the three anti-LGBTQ+ measures will be at the core of this override session.

House Bill 81, authored by Rep. Raymond Crews, (R-Bossier City) would have prevented school employees from using a student’s preferred name or pronouns without parent approval.

House Bill 466, authored by Rep. Dodie Horton (R-Haughton) is a strict version of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law that would have prohibited any discussion of gender identity or sexual orientation in Louisiana public schools.

House Bill 648, authored by Rep. Gabe Firment (R-Pollock) would have banned gender-affirming care for minors in Louisiana. In his six-page veto letter, Gov. John Bel Edwards noted that according to the March 2023 Louisiana Department of Health Study on Gender Reassignment Procedures on Minors, in 2021 only 57 Louisiana children were considered candidates for puberty blockers or hormone replacement based on a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and zero minors had received gender reassignment surgical procedures, ever.

House Speaker Clay Schexnayder (R-Gonzales) has said it is “strictly left up to the [House] members whether or not they have the votes to override a veto. Lawmakers must achieve a two-thirds majority vote in both the House and Senate in order for a veto override to be successful, though it’s believed that the above measures do have the necessary votes for a successful override. However, even if the veto on the transgender healthcare ban is overridden, it’s unclear whether the law would stand. U.S. district court judges in six states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee – have blocked similar laws from taking effect, saying that they violate the 14th amendment’s equal protection clause.

In addition to the three anti-LGBTQ measures, Louisiana Illuminator’s Julie O’Donoghue reports Sen. Stewart Cathey (R-Monroe) has said he’ll ask for a veto override of his legislation that would have required 17-year-olds accused of violent crimes to be tried as adults in the criminal justice system. Rep. Larry Frieman (R-Abita) will also bring up his bill that would have lengthened mandatory prison sentences for those convicted of multiple crimes. Rep. Michael Echols (R-Monroe) has said he also wants his two vetoed bills reconsidered – including one that would limit foreign nationals from “adversaries” (such as China, Cuba, and Iran) from owning property in Louisiana.

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