A package of anti-LGBTQ bills has reached final passage, but will Governor John Bel Edwards veto them? A bill criticized as a “Don’t Say Gay” bill bars school staff from discussing gender and sexual topics with students outside of legitimate classroom study. Another bill assures teachers may address students with pronouns appropriate to the gender they were born. LSU political science professor Robert Hogan says it will be interesting to see what Edwards does in his last session as governor.
“It will be one of these cases where you get to see what he really thinks, in some ways, about these issues. The political issues are put aside, in some ways, because he’s not concerned necessarily with how this will affect him politically.”
A third bill – from the House – that bans certain transgender medical procedures for persons under 18 has passed the Senate and also goes to the Governor’s office. Governor Edwards and others have called the bills “solutions seeking a problem.” Hogan says, if the bills are vetoed, lawmakers may want to call a veto override session…or perhaps not…:
“They may just say ‘look, let’s just wait until the next legislative session when there will probably be a governor more to the liking of those that want this sort of legislation.’”
Republicans have solid majorities in both House and Senate, and have the votes needed to override Edwards’ vetoes, but will they? Hogan says this is an election year, and many may feel the necessity to push the bills into law, to send a message in an election year…:
“The conservative elements in the legislature feel that they have a great deal of strength, and if they’re able to override it they’re going to be emboldened. And that may help the more conservative candidates running for governor.”
Governor Edwards has made no secret of his distaste for the bills, which some call “transphobic” or “anti-gay.” Others feel the bills protect kids’ innocence. He can either sign them into law, let them become law without his signature or veto them.