The recently announced veto override session is as unprecedented as it is necessary and reveals the extraordinary nature of the vetoed legislation.
The heated and unrelenting opposition to both allowing biological boys who “identify” as girls to participate in girl sports against biological girls as well as the restrictions on concealed handguns reached a boiling point this week when the Louisiana Legislature—both the House and Senate—failed to turn in enough ballots to stop this year’s automatic veto session. In the past—over nearly five decades—a majority of lawmakers have always returned enough ballots to cancel the constitutionally-required veto session. Not this time.
While multiple vetoes of bills by Gov. John Bel Edwards may be considered it is clear that two bills in particular energized, and provided the catalyst for, the veto session. The first, as alluded to above, was a bill introduced by State Senator Beth Mizell and vetoed by the Governor that would have prohibited biological boys who now “identify” as girls to compete on school sports teams against biological girls. This is only the latest lunacy from the Left to reach Louisiana. “Allowing males to compete in female sports is not progressive; it’s abusive,” asserts female powerlifter Beth Stelzer. This is why we must steadfastly maintain and demand that “sex” means objective biological sex, not subjective gender identity.
In sports, biology is the most important characteristic of all and biological girls simply do not possess the physicality or musculature to fairly compete against biological boys. This legislation is necessary not only because allowing biological boys to compete against biological girls denies girls the opportunity for personal development and the enrichment that comes from athletic training and competition, but because it also denies them athletic scholarships without which many girls simply have no chance to attend college. This is sexism, purely and simply.
The second veto by the governor involves the legislation, by State Senator Jay Morris, allowing people 21 and older in Louisiana to carry a concealed handgun without needing a permit, safety training or background check. Louisiana strongly supports the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms and so this pushback by the Legislature was predictable. [It is worth remembering that the U.S. Supreme Court, in its landmark 2008 Heller decision, held that the right to keep and bear arms is both a collective (i.e., law enforcement and military) right as well as an individual right].
We must remember that the 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights to provide citizens the means to protect themselves from the government when it breaches the constitutional barriers the Framers put in place and threatens the very citizens who created it and consent to its governing—and who are free to withdraw that consent. This is why efforts by the government to restrict 2nd Amendment rights must be very carefully, and skeptically, scrutinized by our citizens and by the courts.
The legislative battle is not over, however. While a simple majority was required to trigger a veto override session, Republicans will need two-thirds of their members in both houses to actually override the vetoes. Nevertheless, this session will put every elected member on the record regarding their position on these bills and that, in and of itself, has great value to our state.
Royal Alexander is a Shreveport attorney.