Legislators returned to the State Capitol on Tuesday for the first-ever veto override session, which will put particular focus on two controversial bills Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed.
Lawmakers will decide the fate of a veto on Senate Bill 156, sponsored by Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton. The bill, also known as the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” which would prohibit transgender men from competing in female sports.
A tougher debate looms among legislators on the provisions of the concealed gun carry proposal in Senate Bill 118 by Sen. Jay Morris, R-Monroe.
Twenty-six other pieces vetoed legislation – including HB 2, the Capital Outlay Bill – are slated for discussion, but Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder said he plans to put SB 156 and SB 118 at the forefront of the discussion.
The move is strategic, he said Monday at a meeting of the Baton Rouge Press Club.
“We’re in a good spot for our efforts be successful in these overrides,” he said. “Other than that, I think as a strategy, we can come out on top, and that was what we wanted to do … make sure Louisiana comes out first.”
The transgender bill could pit the fundamentalist Republicans against lawmakers with ties to the state business sector.
But it probably has more traction to pass because it gained 80 percent approval in both chambers, said State Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen.
“It’s very simple to understand the transgender bill, whereas the gun issue has some people very worried,” he said. “But then you still have a lot of big gun advocates who are for it, but there are others who believe there should be a permit process.”
The gun permit legislation has also drawn a split among sheriffs statewide, which has prompted the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association to stay neutral on the issue, according to Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi, president of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association.
Law enforcement officials have voiced concern over a bill that would allow concealed weapons without the permit, which they say would pose more danger both to civilians and law enforcement.
Proponents consider the bill a way for protect Second Amendment rights for responsible gun owners.