As Governor Edwards Signs Bills Into Law, Some Also Vetoed

Jun 29, 2017

Governor John Bel Edwards has signed nearly four hundred bills into law passed during the latest regular session. But he’s also used his veto pen on several bills. 

Representatives debated until the final minutes of the 2017 Regular Session. Thirty minutes later, a Special Session began.
Credit Wallis Watkins

One of those was authored by Republican Representative Rick Edmonds.

On the floor of the House in May, Edmonds explained the bill “requires the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget shall be provided written notification, including detailed justification, of any planned changes or transfer of funds from one category of expenditure to another.”

During debate on the House floor, Representative Walt Leger (D-New Orleans) suggested it amounted to the Legislature micromanaging agencies.

“We weren’t going to micromanage," questioned Leger, "but now we’re going to drag these agencies in front of JLCB for every change within a budget unit?”

Governor Edwards’ veto message called the measure overly burdensome.

The same line of thought was used in vetoing Representative Lance Harris’ (R-Alexandria) bill dealing with free speech on college campuses.

“It establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students and others who interfere with free speech. And it empowers persons whose free speech rights have been infringed to seek a remedy,” explained Harris.

Governor Edwards said those freedoms are already protected under both the United States and Louisiana constitutions.

Representative Harris disagreed with the veto, saying "unfortunately, the Governor did not see fit to sign the bill into law, but I think it’s very important for the future of free speech in America.”

Edwards also vetoed a bill by Representative Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. It would have allowed the Legislature to change the priority order of construction projects, in accordance with public input. While Abramson said it would increase transparency, the Governor’s veto message said it would inject politics into a process that should be based on data and needs.