It’s up to legislators now whether they want to return to Baton Rouge and try to override some of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s vetoes from the 2015 session.
Odds are it’s not going to happen even though there’s some discontent over Jindal’s veto of a small cost-of-living raise for some 130,000 retired state employees, teachers and others.
A veto session hasn’t been held in the 40-plus years since the new Louisiana constitution went into effect.
Ballots have been sent out to the 105 state representatives and 39 senators. A majority in at least one chamber must return them saying they don’t want a veto session or one will be held July 21.
“The process has begun,” said state Rep. Sam Jones. “I know it’s difficult”to get support for a veto session. “But it’s part of our duty to come in and review the governor’s vetoes.”
Jones, D-Franklin, sponsored the 1.5 percent cost-of-living-adjustment for retirees. “I’ve been hearing from a lot of those folks and they are not happy at all,” he said. “I suspect legislators are hearing from those folks.”
The COLA measure is one of nine bills Jindal vetoed. Among others were those aimed at reining in the cost of TOPS the state’s college scholarship program and requiring review of contracts privatizing state functions.
Jindal also red-lined some provisions of the state budget bill, including one that would have prohibited the Louisiana State Police from paying for the governor’s security detail to travel with Jindal for “campaign purposes.”
The Louisiana House has been more inclined to hold veto sessions in recent history but the Senate has dashed any desire. Since 2007, there have been three instances where the House did not return sufficient ballots to call off a veto session, but the Senate did thereby canceling it.
The House was five votes short of the 53 needed in 2007; one vote short in 2012; and 15 short in 2013, according to legislative records.
The declarations that a veto session is not needed must be returned by midnight July 16.