Louisiana GOP lawmakers set to reverse Democrat John Bel Edwards vetoes of anti-LGBTQ bills

Louisiana lawmakers riding a Republican super majority wave in the state Legislature are officially returning to Baton Rouge next week determined to override Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards' vetoes on anti-LGBTQ bills passed during the regular session in June.

Senate President Page Cortez of Lafayette confirmed Friday morning that there weren't enough lawmakers who opted out to cancel the session, though official ballots won't be released until later this morning.

Republicans' top target is House Bill 648 by Republican Rep. Gabe Firment of Pollock to ban gender-affirming healthcare for minors, which can range from counseling to puberty blockers to hormones to surgery, although they will likely also test Edwards' veto on Louisiana's version of what critics call the "Don't say gay" bill in public schools.

Firment said his bill is designed to protect children.

"We must end medical experimentation on children in Louisiana," he said. "We must must override the veto of House Bill 648."

But Edwards said the bill unfairly limits legitimate healthcare for the children it targets.

“I believe that there is no legitimate state interest and no rational basis that justifies harming this very small population of children, their families or the health care professionals who care for them, or for the cruel and extreme consequences imposed on children through the overt denial of healthcare under this bill,” Edwards said in his veto message.

Once a rarity, veto override sessions have become the norm during the past three years as Republicans gained a super majority in both the House and Senate.

Veto override sessions are automatically scheduled unless a majority of lawmakers in either House opts out. The veto session begins July 18 and is limited to five days.

At a Louisiana LGBTQ rally on the Capitol steps April 12, 2023, supporters say anti-LGBTQ bills promote hate and violence.
At a Louisiana LGBTQ rally on the Capitol steps April 12, 2023, supporters say anti-LGBTQ bills promote hate and violence.

Other vetoed anti-LGBTQ measures that could gain override traction include:

∎ House Bill 466 by Republican Haughton Rep. Dodie Horton that restricts the discussion of gender and sexuality in public school classrooms.

∎ House Bill 81 by Republican Bossier City Rep. Raymond Crews that requires school employees to use the names and pronouns of students on their birth certificates unless they have parental consent, and even then teachers can opt out if they object for religious reasons.

But lawmakers aren't limited to the gender identity bills that have become a culture war flashpoint in state legislatures across the country.

Others have said they want to consider veto overrides of juvenile justice reform rollbacks and House Bill 646 by Rep. Les Farnum of Sulphur, which would require a new canvass of the state's voter rolls that targets voters who have been inactive 10 years.

Veto overrides require a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate. All of the bills in play passed by veto-proof margins during the regular session, but that doesn't always translate to an override vote.

More: Louisiana NAACP seeks travel advisory warning Blacks, LGBTQ to avoid state

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1

This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Louisiana lawmakers determined to overturn vetoes of anti-LGBTQ bills