Governor John Bel Edwards line-item vetoed four items from HB 516 of the 2021 Regular Session in a Veto Letter dated June 9, 2021.
Notably, all cuts made by the governor to HB516 were in districts of representatives that are members of the newly formed Louisiana Conservative Caucus (LLC). $1.65 Million in project funding was line-item vetoed by the governor before signing the Bill, including $1,000,000 for road repairs in Winn Parish. Two members of the LCC represent Winn Parish, LCC Chairman Jack McFarland Dist. 13 and Representative Gabe Firment Dist. 22.
“It’s very disappointing and very unfortunate for the people of Winn Parish who will ultimately be the ones who suffer from this decision. But, I won’t give up; I will continue to work hard to get the money to improve the roads in Winn Parish,” said McFarland.
Most of the road repair funds were to improve Joe Frazier Rd. Also on the list for improvements were Pool St, 3rd St and 10th St. in Calvin.
“We are just so disappointed that this is the way all the hard work that went into this Bill by Representative McFarland ended up,” stated Winn Parish Police Jury President Josh McAllister.
Winn Parish State Senator Louie Bernard added, “this was a badly needed project brought about by DOTD’s closure of a state bridge and the announcement that the bridge replacement would take at least two years. Representative Jack McFarland deserves the credit for getting money budgeted to repair the road in question. Part of the process is that the Governor must sign the bill. The appropriation to the Winn Parish Police Jury was one of many projects which did not gain this approval. Rep. McFarland and I will continue to work for a solution to our road problems in general, and specifically for the issue concerning the Joe Frazier Road.”
The governor is legally required to issue vetoes within 10 days of receiving bills if the legislators are still in session when that window closes. After the veto, the governor has an additional two days to notify the legislators of his decision for a total of 12 days overall. This round of vetoes came on the very last day possible under the legal standards.
In Louisiana, legislative overrides of gubernatorial vetoes are rare. Lawmakers have voted to override any governor’s veto only twice in the state’s modern history, and both occurred well over two decades ago.
The Republican legislative leadership also doesn’t have enough votes to override Edwards’ vetoes on a strictly partisan basis. Republicans make up two-thirds of the members in the Louisiana Senate, but not in the House. So the leaders would need a two-thirds majority in both chambers to complete a veto override.
Read HB516 and the veto letter below.