Lawmakers fail to overturn veto of transgender sports ban

Louisiana House lawmakers failed to overturn Gov. John Bel Edwards’ veto of legislation banning transgender athletes from school sports teams today, a significant blow to Republican-led efforts to enact the new law in a historic veto session that has seen no bill rejections overturned so far.

While the Senate narrowly agreed to the veto override, the House fell two votes short of the needed two-thirds support required to bypass the governor. Republicans were unable to sway the handful of Democrats needed to reach the supermajority hurdle to mark what would have been the first time in nearly 30 years that the Louisiana Legislature had overridden a gubernatorial veto.

Efforts to reverse Edwards’ spurning of other measures—including a bill to loosen the rules for carrying concealed handguns in Louisiana—also failed to gain enough support for passage.

The transgender sports ban was a driving force behind the historic veto session, after winning bipartisan veto-proof backing in the regular session. Republican legislators said they heard an overwhelming outcry from Louisiana residents who wanted a law prohibiting transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams of their identified gender. 

But the House vote Wednesday was 68-30. It needed 70 votes to pass. The Senate on Tuesday voted 26-12 to override the bill rejection, the bare minimum needed for the override.

The legislation is similar to bans passed by Republican-led legislatures in states such as Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida. 

Opponents said the measure threatened Louisiana’s ability to attract big events, a point argued by business organization leaders from Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Read the full story.