Louisiana lawmakers fail to override veto on transgender sports ban

Louisiana lawmakers fail to override veto on transgender sports ban
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Louisiana lawmakers failed to override Gov. John Bel Edwards’s (D) veto of legislation that would have banned transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams.

Edwards vetoed Senate Bill 156 last month, which would have required athletic teams to allow athletes based on “biological sex.”

In vetoing the bill, Edwards said “discrimination is not a Louisiana value, and this bill was a solution in search of a problem that simply does not exist in Louisiana.”

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He further raised concerns that the NCAA would not want to host major sporting events in the state.

The GOP-held Louisiana House failed to override Edwards's veto after voting 68-30 to override it, according to the state legislature's website.

The vote narrowly missed the 70-vote threshold needed in the lower chamber to override the veto.

Two-thirds of both the House and Senate must vote to override a governor’s veto, according to The Advocate.

The state Senate voted 26-12 to override Edwards’s veto, according to the legislature’s website, just enough to pass the override.

In a news briefing Wednesday, Edwards said the state “rejected a play” that had no place in Louisiana. 

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"I would rather the headlines going out from today be that Louisiana did what was right and best. We rejected a play out of a national playbook that just had no place in Louisiana. That bill wasn’t crafted for our state, I mean go read it and look at the arguments that were made. None of that applies here,” Edwards said.

He further said that the bill was “mean” because it targets "the most emotionally fragile children in the state of Louisiana.” 

"We have to be better than that,” Edwards said. "We have to be better than that.” 

Catholic, Protestant and Jewish leaders from across the state criticized the bill in an open letter. The group said the measure is “full of cowardice and meanness and does nothing to make our shared society better.”

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, applauded Wednesday’s vote in a statement.

“This legislation was, simply put, a dangerous waste of time and Louisianans deserve a legislature that spends more time and energy on the issues that are actually plaguing the state and need addressing,” David said.

More than 30 states have either considered or passed bills restricting transgender athletes, the organization said.