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Edwards of veto session: 'We shouldn't have done it'

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Posted at 4:59 PM, Jul 21, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards held a press briefing Wednesday evening following the adjournment of the state legislature's veto override session. The governor discussed the session's outcome and, briefly, COVID-19.

The session ended after lawmakers failed to overturn the governor's veto of legislation banning transgender athletes from school sports teams. Ultimately no bill rejections were overridden during the session. The Senate narrowly agreed to the veto override on Tuesday, but the House fell two votes short of the needed two-thirds required to bypass the governor.

The governor thanked Rep. Sam Jenkins and Sen. Gerald Boudreaux for their leadership in the legislature.

Edwards was asked during his radio program if he was glad that his vetoes were not overridden.

"That's the silliest question I've ever heard. No governor ever wants to have a veto overridden, no governor ever wants to have a veto override session. The vetoes that I issued I believed, and still do, were in the state's best interest," Edwards said.

The session was part of the process, though "at the end of the day, the legislature got it right," he added. Edwards said those who called for the override session are "still Louisianans" and he intends to continue working with those individuals to move the state forward. The governor said those people were "fueled by passion, not by reason."

Edwards emphasized that the state's two major economy sectors, oil and gas and tourism, were hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic and are continuing to restart following the difficult year.

He said there were no proponents of the bill who could point to a single instance in the state where the "alleged competitive advantage was conferred upon someone."

"If there's not a problem to correct, why would you even take the slightest risk of harming your economy coming out of a pandemic? It makes no sense to me. The truth is that we shouldn't have done it," Edwards said.

He is happy with the outcome of the session though, and said he thinks it was best for the state, adding, "I am not gloating because there's too much serious business to do." The governor hopes to leave united on what legislators were able to accomplish in the regular session, and move forward.

"People in Louisiana don't want to see in the state capitol what they see in the nation's capitol every single day. We're better than that," said Edwards, adding later that he "didn't ask for this session. I will wake up tomorrow willing to work with anybody as I was last week, month, year."

He concluded by briefly discussing the recent statewide increase in COVID-19 cases, saying he was "very, very troubled" and lost his breath when he received the daily update from the Department of Health. Edwards again asked residents to seek professional, accurate medical advice when making their decision regarding the vaccine.

Edwards plans to hold another press conference on Friday to provide further updates on what to expect when it comes to COVID-19.

"We have to do better, and we have to come together in order to do better," he finished. "Starting right here and right now, that's what we intend to do."

Watch the briefing below:

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