Historic Legislative Session Underway

The Louisiana Legislature is holding a veto override session for the first time in modern state history.  The announcement came Friday as leaders of the Republican-controlled House and Senate recounted the previous evening’s vote to return to Baton Rouge and challenge Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto pen.

District 22 Representative Gabe Firment said they will consider overriding several of Governor John Bel Edwards’ vetoes.  Among them Firment listed the bill titled Fairness in Women’s Sports and Constitutional Carry.

“The majority of senators have heard from their constituents who have asked them to take votes on the veto override,” Senate President Page Cortez, R-Lafayette, said. “It has become clear that the majority of senators felt compelled to return for the veto session based on constituent feedback.”

“This is democracy in action,” House Speaker Clay Schexnayder, R-Gonzales, said.

Red River’s Senator, Louis Bernard, isn’t convinced concerning the necessity for the concealed carry bill.  Bernard said, “Since the regular session ended, I had time to reflect on the manner in which passage of SB-118 would affect law enforcement personnel. Many felt this would create yet another level of risk to a job already dangerous enough. I have to respect that view.

“I have voted for every piece of firearm legislation since becoming a Senator. I believe wholeheartedly in the 2nd Amendment and in the right of citizens to carry a concealed weapon. But with great freedoms, come great responsibility. I believe that SOME level of training should be in place before carrying a concealed weapon. We owe that not only to our law enforcement community, but for the safety of the general public and the individual who carries the weapon.”

Bernard added, “I totally respect the views of those who believe that no training or permit should be required. In future legislative sessions, I will support efforts to make the requirements for concealed carry less onerous to our citizens.”

Override sessions are automatic in Louisiana but have been cancelled by simple majority votes every year since the state’s revamped constitution was ratified in 1974. That changed, however, when only 12 of 39 senators and 35 of 104 House members chose to opt-out.

Edwards vetoed 28 bills from the 2021 regular legislative session. Any one of them could be challenged.  None has been formally listed, but a House spokesperson confirmed two bills will “definitely” be called: one dealing with transgender athletes and another regarding concealed handguns.

Senate Bill 118, sponsored by Sen. Jay Morris, R-West Monroe, would have allowed residents age 21 and older to carry concealed firearms without obtaining a permit.

Edwards said the measure was not in the interest of public safety and vetoed it early this month.

The Center Square contributed to this report.

 


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