Outside groups exerting pressure on Louisiana veto session 

Ballots have gone out for Louisiana lawmakers to decide whether to hold a historic veto override session, with heavy pressure pouring in from outside groups trying to sway that decision and a heated debate taking shape on social media.

Gov. John Bel Edwards rejected 28 bills from the regular session and struck out a handful of legislative pet projects from budget bills. The Louisiana Constitution calls for a veto session to be automatically scheduled when a governor jettisons legislation, though lawmakers usually scrap the gathering.

But this time appears different, with two bills in particular drawing interest for a mid-July veto session from the majority-Republican House and Senate: a measure banning transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams of their identified gender and legislation allowing people 21 and older in Louisiana to carry a concealed handgun without needing a permit.

The state Republican Party and the Christian conservative organization Louisiana Family Forum have been urging supporters to ask lawmakers to hold the veto session. The state Democratic Party is telling people to call legislators and ask them to oppose the gathering, and an outside group backing Edwards’ agenda is also sending out emails and posting on social media against the session.

Ballots determining the veto session are due July 15. If neither chamber sees a majority of its members turn in the paperwork to cancel the gathering, the session will begin July 20 and could run through July 24. 

Even if lawmakers call themselves back in for the veto session, it remains unclear whether they’ll reach the two-thirds support needed to override an Edwards bill rejection. If Republicans vote as a bloc in the House and Senate—a far from certain outcome—they remain two members short of a two-thirds vote in the House.

Also unclear is the price tag for a veto session. While special session costs range from about $40,000 to $50,000 per day on average, a veto session wouldn’t necessarily require the same staffing and hours of work. Read the full story.