BY MICHELLE MILLHOLLON
Capitol news bureau
July 11, 2012
Legislative leaders announced Tuesday that a veto override session will not be held to challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal’s action on bills.
Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, and House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles, said 31 members of the Senate and 52 members of the House nixed a return to the State Capitol to overturn Jindal’s vetoes.
The governor vetoed 21 bills and stripped language from the $25.6 billion state operating budget.
A majority of members of either chamber needed to return forms to prevent a veto override session from automatically convening on July 14.
More than enough members of the Senate submitted the forms.
However, less than a majority of the House did so.
“I’m glad to see the House has flexed its legislative muscle,” said state Rep. Robert Johnson, D-Marksville.
Jindal vetoed legislation involving the Baton Rouge bus system, a local automobile rental tax, the Juban Crossing Economic Development District, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana and an equal pay task force, among other issues.
In the budget, Jindal removed funding for J. Levy Dabadie Correctional Center in Pineville, allowing it to be closed.
Prisoners will move to Avoyelles Correctional Center in Cottonport by the end of the month.
A number of legislators vowed to return to the State Capitol to overturn the governor’s action.
Two-thirds of the state Senate quickly nixed that idea.
However, their decision was not final until this week because they could have changed their minds.
State Sen. Bodi White, R-Central, said there was no need to return to the State Capitol for the first veto override session in modern Louisiana history.
“What are we going to override?” White said. “Most of the issues were local issues ... and I don’t think you’d ever get enough people to come in.”
Johnson said the governor’s action on Dabadie merited a veto override session.
He said the prison is an example of taxpayer dollars working well with inmates assigned to work crews in the local community.
Now, he said, the inmates’ work day will be shorter because of transportation time.
Members also were unhappy about the governor’s action on the budget and his veto of a local rental tax, Johnson said.
“There was a lot of dissension. Several different groups were very, very upset,” he said of the mood in the House.
White, who once served in the House, said there has always been an independent streak in that chamber.
“They’re kind of rabble-rousers,” White said.