BREAKING: Legislature overrides governor’s veto of ‘Stop Harming Our Kids Act’

Published 5:11 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature mustered the two-third vote necessary to override a governor’s veto clearing the way for the “Stop Harming Our Kids Act” (HB 648) to become law. The bill prohibits healthcare professionals from providing gender affirming care or altering a child’s appearance to validate the minor’s perceptions of his sex. The Legislature adjourned following the vote of the Senate.

The Louisiana Constitution mandates a veto session on the 40th day after adjournment of the regular session unless a majority of either the House or Senate votes not to return. This year only 12 members of the Senate and 31 members of the House mailed in ballots stating the veto session was unnecessary.  The 2023 Veto Session, which convened Tuesday at noon, is only the third in the state’s history since the 1974 Louisiana Constitution was adopted.

“The House came back to Baton Rouge and used this veto override opportunity to push legislation over the finish line and into law,” said Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder. “We had robust participation from the public today here at the Capitol and I appreciate how involved average citizens have been in our important discussions this year.”

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The House of Representatives voted 76-23 to override the veto of HB 648. The vote in the Senate was 28-11.  The governor vetoed a total of 26 bills from the 2023 Regular Session including line item vetoes from the budget package.

“In eight years as a Democratic governor with a Republican legislature, I have issued 319 vetoes,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a news release following the vote. “More than 99% of those vetoes have been sustained. Usually, we have been able to find common ground to move Louisiana forward, and I am thankful to the legislature for all the good we have accomplished together. But we have also had profound disagreements. Just two of my vetoes have been overridden. The first time I was overridden, on the Congressional district map, I said the bill was illegal and I expected the courts would throw it out. The courts have done so. Today, I was overridden for the second time, on my veto of a bill that needlessly harms a very small population of vulnerable children, their families, and their health care professionals. I expect the courts to throw out this unconstitutional bill, as well.”