The incoming call came early on a Saturday morning in January, from one of my favorite customers. I mention one of my favorites because she is one of those clients that challenges me to be on top of my game each time we converse. Most of the time, we are debating investment and financial market related items, as that is the nature of our relationship. From time-to-time, our conversations diverge into politics. A lot of my time as an investment professional is spent talking people ‘off of the ledge’ and attempting to separate their investment planning from their political views. She and I have had conversations regarding the role that government should or should not play in our lives, the debate over the success of low tax states versus high tax states, election integrity and so on.
On this particular morning, I saw the text message before I listened to the voicemail message. The voicemail came a little after 7 a.m.; the text message read something like this, referencing a WSJ article, ‘Decades of women’s achievement is being rolled back.’ The forthcoming outrage heard on the forty-seven minute discussion resonated the opinion of a successful woman who had made it in a ‘man’s world’ and how national political causes were setting back women’s rights that took decades, if not centuries worth of courage, effort, grief, sorrow, abuse and ultimately victory in a female’s ability to be considered on an equal playing field to men. This call was the first of many calls that I received on this issue!
Now, let’s be clear here, I am not the state’s foremost expert on women’s rights issues; but I do feel like I have a good idea on differences when distinguishing right from wrong. In addition, I am married to an incredible woman, have two amazing daughters and was raised by one heckuva mama who taught me and my brothers (of course it would have been nice to have a sister for this editorial), that you can do anything you set your heart on; just give it 100 percent and be the best version of yourself possible. It is the same message that my wife and I have used to raise our children (daughters and sons).
To the point, a national/federal political stance has been made to allow male born athletes the ability to compete in sports restricted to female athletes, when the male athlete has undergone medical procedures to change his sex. I vowed to work towards not letting this happen in Louisiana and protecting our female athletes. Keep national politics out of Louisiana athletics. To that end, I kept my promise and voted favorably to not allow a male born person from participating in female athletic activities. The bill received bipartisan support and walked out of the legislature with over a 2/3 vote in favor. Ultimately, the governor vetoed the bill.
Let me be very clear, I respect the governor’s role in this process and his right to veto legislation. I also respect my fellow state legislators and the offices in which we hold. We have a check and balance system. The way Louisiana’s constitution spells it out, legislators pass a bill and the governor has the ability to sign the bill, let it go into law or veto the bill. The constitution also says that the legislature can override these vetoes with a two-thirds vote of its members. Since the creation of our constitution, we have had bills that were vetoed by the governor and overridden by the legislature; however, each time the legislature was still ‘in session’. Never before has the legislature followed through on the constitutionally drawn up veto session that is stated to take place 40 days following the conclusion of the session that ended. Traditionally and by a majority of the legislature, a formal request is made that deems a veto session NOT necessary. This year and this issue may be the one that pulls us into a Veto Session for the first time, since the constitutional right of automatically going into a veto session was granted in the 60s. I plan to support the Veto Session and continue to keep the promise I made back in January.
Once in a veto session, the legislature will have the ability to override any or all of the vetoed bills that were vetoed during the final days of session. There are other vetoed bills that are being hotly considered. There is the constitutional carry bill that allows law-abiding citizens to conceal-carry, the same way that they can open-carry, without the need for a permit. There are election integrity bills that can be considered to be overridden. In all, there are twenty-eight bills that can be considered. Without the veto of the protection of female athletes’ bill, most politicos are not confident that there would have been enough energy to muster the votes to pull us into an override session. Is this bill different? We will know by midnight on July 15th if the majority of each body of the legislature feels this bill is important enough to, for the first time in history, go into a veto override session.