Gov. Edwards speaks after House, Senate override veto on redistricting maps
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The Louisiana Legislature made history on Wednesday, March 30.
The House voted 72-31 to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of a congressional map passed in the redistricting session.
Later in a historic vote, the Senate joined the House in voting to override Gov. Edwards’ veto.
The Senate vote was 27-11, it required only 26 votes.
The vote by the Senate marked the third override of a governor’s veto under Louisiana’s modern constitution. It was the first override of a veto in a veto session.
Louisiana House Speaker Clay Schexnayder issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“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,” Rep. Schexnayder.
The Louisiana Democratic Party also issued the following statement Wednesday.
“Despite the clear moral compass of Democratic members on fair representation, the Republican led legislature overturned the Governor’s veto today. I am extremely disappointed in those who chose to ignore the will of the public and vote in their own interests. While this outcome is not what we hoped for, I commend the tireless elected officials, groups, and individuals who fought hard to ensure every voice in our state gets a vote. I remind Louisianans that the Democratic Party is the party of fair representation, the party of justice, and the party who will fight for all people. We lost this battle but the war is not over, we will continue to fight until we have fair representation,” Party Chair Katie Bernhardt said.
Before votes were tallied over on the Senate side Several black lawmakers took a minute to share their concerns and try to persuade other members votes.
“I can’t help but feel what some of my ancestors might have felt as slaves. And that they too were not recognized by the constitution and the constitution ignored the fact that they were human beings...they saw them as property. And they saw us not fully as people who could participate in a democratic process,” said Sen. Karen Carter Peterson (D).
“I drive my district through seven parishes. in the minority districts I still see schools that look like they were built in 1960,” Sen. Katrina Jackson (D) added.
But it ultimately was not enough to change any minds. In response to the pushback from lawmakers, Governor Edwards says he’s disappointed, but not at all surprised.
“When the population of our state is one-third African American, and we know that it is, then simple math and simple fairness means two of those districts need to be minority districts,” Governor Edwards explained.
It may seem like it’s all over with, but it won’t end here. The Legislative Black Caucus and other activist groups plan to take the results from today and bring the fight to the courts where they will argue the map goes against the Voting Rights Act.
We’re told this will likely be taken up by the State Supreme Court. We’ll be watching how this litigation plays out and update you all when we learn more.
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