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Louisiana Legislature overrides Edwards' veto of congressional maps

Gov. to hold press conference at 2:30 pm
Louisiana State Capitol
Posted at 1:59 PM, Mar 30, 2022

The Louisiana Legislature has voted to override Governor John Bel Edwards' veto of the Congressional map passed during the redistricting session earlier this year.

On Wednesday, the House voted 72-31 to override the veto, and the Senate voted 27-11 to override the veto.

To read our story about the veto, click here.

Governor John Bel Edwards did not mince words during his press conference.

"I'm obviously disappointed, but not surprised. I knew when I vetoed the bill this was a likely, if not positive, outcome. But would be much more disappointed had I been complicit with a bill that was so unfair enacted into law," Edwards said.

He said that, over the past 10 years, the percent of African American citizens in the state has increased to one-third of the population. Since there are six congressional districts, the math requiring two majority African American districts is simple, he said.

"That's pretty easy to understand," he said. "Nobody should have to have a voting rights act to tell them what is fair."

He said the legislature's plan, which has only one majority African American district, "is 100 percent off."

He said he believes it is "very clear" that the legislature's map is a violation of the voting rights act. He said the legislators said over and over again that their priority was to preserve the districts that existed.

"I want no part of it. I had no part of it," he said. "I am not complicit."

Edwards said the legislature's actions show that "even in 2022, the state of Louisiana is not ready to come out of some form of supervision. That's tragic."

He also said he didn't regret vetoing the map.

"It was a very easy decision to veto it, and I can stand on the other side of their vote to say that hasn't changed a bit," Edwards said. "I slept good last night, and I'm gonna sleep good tonight, because I know I'm on the right side of history on this one."

When a reporter asked if Louisiana should still be under preclearance - a procedure that requires all district maps be approved by federal civil rights attorneys - he answered "what's so hard about basic math? Basic fairness? I just don't get it. I don't —— Yes."

We received an emailed statement from House Speaker Clay Schexnayder.

"For the first time in history, the Louisiana Legislature overrode a gubernatorial veto during a veto session. Today, the overwhelming will of the legislature was heard. House Bill 1 fulfills our constitutionally mandated duty to redistrict congress. It also shows true legislative independence and a clear separation of power from the executive branch," the statement reads.

To watch the press conference, click here.

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