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Capitol Views: Veto override vote on insurance bill possible by session’s end

Gov. John Bel Edwards has put pen to paper for three vetoes, which are his first of the 2018 regular session. All are related to insurance regulations, and one could become the subject of a rare veto override vote in the House.

HB 607 and HB 609 by Rep. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, would have altered how insurance commissioners handle certain executive actions and changed the way insolvent insurance companies are treated in the law. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon supported both measures.

In his veto message, Edwards wrote: “These two bills provide unnecessary additional regulations on the insurance industry that may result in additional costs being passed along to policyholders.”

Asked for his reaction, Seabaugh said, “These bills were both non-controversial and passed both the House and Senate unanimously. They were supported by Commissioner Donelon and the insurance industry. There was no legitimate reason to veto the bills other than the fact that the governor does not get along well with the author.”

Seabaugh said that he plans to pursue a vote to override the governor’s vetoes before the end of the regular session, which could arrive as early as Friday. But the House can’t do it alone. A two-thirds majority vote from both chambers is required to override a governor’s veto. The Legislature hasn’t successfully overturned a gubernatorial veto since 1990.

Likewise vetoed Tuesday was HB 169 by Rep. Kirk Talbot, R-River Ridge, which would have retired the requirement that insurance companies send notices of cancellation to their policyholders via certified mail.

In his veto message, Edwards wrote, “policyholders that have their insurance policies canceled should be afforded the right to receive an actual notice of cancellation. The existing requirement is an important one that should be maintained in law.”

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