BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana state senators have narrowly voted to overturn Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards’ rejection of a bill prohibiting transgender students from participating in school sports.
The vote came Tuesday on the opening day of the first veto session under the state’s nearly 50-year-old constitution.
Senators voted 26-12 for the veto override. That was the exact number of votes needed.
The vote fell along party lines, with Republicans in support of the measure and Democrats in opposition. The debate now shifts to the House, where Republicans will need to pick up some backing from Democrats and independents to overturn the veto and enact the ban in law.
A small group of protesters were pulled away from the chambers during the opening of the veto override session at the Louisiana State Capitol.
The group held up a sign reading "Protect Trans Youth" and chanted that the veto override of senate bill 156, which sought to prevent transgender athletes from competing on girls' sports teams in schools, "has to go."
Edwards vetoed the bill in June and now with the veto override session, lawmakers can undo that action.
The protesters were moved out of the chambers and made their way to the capitol grounds where they continued their protest.
So far, the senate has voted to override the veto of the transgender ban bill. The vote was 26-12. It will now go to the House for discussion and vote.
Alanah Odoms, Executive Director of the Louisiana ALCU released a statment after the group of protesters were pulled away from the chambers by Louisiana State Capitol security officers.
The statement should be attributed to Alanah Odoms, ACLU of Louisiana executive director.
“Today, trans advocates protesting a relentless legislative assault were met by more brutality, cruelty, and oppression. The right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy and at the core of the First Amendment, but this morning we witnessed Capitol security officers violate this right by using excessive force to silence protesters and thwart free public expression.
People exercising their First Amendment rights should be treated with respect – not violence.
The ACLU of Louisiana demands the release of all existing security camera footage of these protesters being removed from the State Capitol today, including video of their removal from the downstairs lobby and stairwell. In addition, we are calling for an investigation of this use of unnecessary force, and full transparency of Capitol security’s crowd control policy – we must know if this policy exists and if the officers involved in this incident adhered to that policy.
We want trans youth to know that they are not alone, and that they have a broad coalition of advocates, educators, and businesses who will continue to fight alongside them and defend their right to be their authentic selves. We are calling on the House of Representatives to shelve this harmless crusade once and for all by voting to sustain Governor Edwards’ veto of Senate Bill 156.
KATC's Katie Easter is in Baton Rouge and will have more from the session.
Lawmakers opened their first veto override session under the nearly 50-year-old state constitution on Tuesday.
Whether they'll have the votes to overturn bill rejections, and even the rules of engagement remain uncertain. Read more here.
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