July 26, 2007

Veto Session: Law and procedure

by: Alfred W. Speer, Clerk of the House
Our constitution provides for an automatic veto session at noon on the fortieth day after sine die adjournment – August 7, 2007 [LA const. art. III, section 18(C)]. The first provision for a veto session was added to the 1921 constitution by amendment adopted in 1966 [LA const. 1921, art. III, section 8.2]. The session may be cancelled by a majority of the elected members of either house of the legislature affirmatively declaring against holding the session.
The Governor returned the vetoed bills to the two clerical officers and on Monday the 23rd of July and the clerical officers mailed the vetoes to the members along with a declaration against the veto session, all as required by R.S. 24:10. The members have until midnight of August 2nd to return their declarations against a veto session. If 53+ House members AND 20+ Senators fail to return their declarations the veto session will convene at noon on August 7th.
The veto session can last no more than 5 calendar days and is limited in scope to the consideration of the 14 vetoed bills and the 10 line items from the General Appropriation Bill vetoed by the Governor. To see the Governor’s veto messages visit the Legislature’s web page on vetoed bills.
Upon convening a veto session, the Speaker would announce to the gathered membership, a quorum (53 or more members) being present, the list of items to be considered during the veto session. For the House, the list would be the 8 House Bills vetoed and the 10 vetoed items from the General Appropriation Bill. The House would proceed to consider these items in order, as listed. The author of the vetoed bill (or HB 1) would take the floor to make a motion to “Pass H. B. no. __ Subsequent to the Governor’s Veto.” This motion is debatable and opens the entire bill for debate. However, the House may not offer amendments to the bill to rectify the flaw(s) identified by the Governor as her reason for vetoing the bill. This motion to pass may be substituted for by moving to “sustain the Governor’s veto” and the bill may be returned to the calendar or tabled by subsidiary motions. The vote necessary to over-ride a veto (pass subsequent to a veto) is 2/3 of the elected members of the House, or 70 votes. Any fewer votes cast for the motion to over-ride results in the Governor’s veto being sustained.
If the House votes to pass a bill subsequent to a veto we would then message the Senate of such action and request they consider also passing the bill subsequent to the veto. Senate Bills vetoed by the Governor would be considered by the House only if the Senate had voted by 2/3 of their elected membership (26) to pass the bill subsequent to the veto. Bills passed by both houses subsequent to the Governor’s veto become law.
A veto session may not continue beyond the 5th calendar day after the same has been convened (August 11th).

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