louisiana-state-capitolA group that unsuccessfully lobbied state lawmakers to convene a veto-override session is vowing to fight on against Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Spartan agenda for social and health services, and the group, Override the Veto Louisiana, is offering an attaboy to lawmakers who “voted” to hold the session.

Advocates for the disabled and parents of disabled children created the group after Jindal stripped $6 million for disabled services from this year’s budget. But they were unable to persuade lawmakers to return to Baton Rouge to consider overriding those vetoes.

*(The quirky means by which a veto override session is triggered requires legislators to send in ballots expressing their wish NOT to hold a session; lawmakers who don’t mail in their ballots on time are — technically — listed as being in favor of a session, although a lawmaker who doesn’t want to have an override session but fails to mail in the ballot on time, for whatever reason, is considered “in favor.” Long story short: some legislators who opposed the override session could be considered in favor simply because they didn’t mail in their ballot in a timely fashion. But we digress.)

In a press release titled, “There are two kinds of legislators in Louisiana,” Louisiana Progress, the progressive group that helped facilitate the override group’s campaign, lauded the 13 senators and 67 representatives who, by not sending in their ballots, “voted to support domestic violence survivors by working to restore funding for prevention, outreach, and education programs, particularly for rural areas of Louisiana” and “voted to support adults and children with disabilities and the families that care for them by working to restore $6 million in funding cut by the governor.”

Unfortunately for proponents of an override session, a majority of state senators, 26 of the 39, voted against the override session, effectively killing it. (Thirty-eight House members, a minority in the 105-member lower chamber, voted against the session.)

Among state lawmakers whose districts include all or parts of Lafayette Parish, Reps. Nancy Landry, Terry Landry, Jack Montoucet, Stephen Ortego, Vincent Pierre and Joel Robideaux favored(*) holding an override session; Reps. Taylor Barras and Stuart Bishop opposed the session. Put another way, a bipartisan majority of House members from the Lafayette delegation — four Dems and two Republicans — wanted the override session.

Senators who represent all or parts of the Lafayette comprises an all-GOP group, and 75 percent of them — Sens. Page Cortez, Fred Mills and Jonathan Perry — favored(*) holding an override session; Sen. Elbert Guillory voted against it.

Louisiana Progress says it plans to hold the lawmakers who opposed the override session accountable:

If you believe something is the right thing to do, then you FIGHT for it, you lobby your fellow legislators, you try your hardest to get it done.

The time for excuses is past.  We will remember in 2015.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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