In A Flash

Senate bill seeks to reduce governor’s power on election plans

By: - September 29, 2020 2:15 pm
LA election plan

Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin testifies in front of the House and Governmental Affairs Committee regarding his proposed emergency election plan on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Photo by Wes Muller/LA Illuminator).

A bill filed Monday by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, R-Slidell, seeks to remove the governor’s veto authority on any future emergency election plans approved by the Louisiana Legislature.

Current state statute provides that the Secretary of State submits an emergency election plan to the Legislature. The Legislature then votes on it, and if it passes, the governor can either enact or veto it.

This summer Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, vetoed an emergency election plan approved by the majority Republican legislature because it made no allowances for the COVID-19 pandemic. A federal judge stepped in and force Louisiana to use an election plan more to Edwards’ liking.

Hewitt’s bill, SB 20, would take away the governor’s veto authority from that process and reduce his power to having a seat on a newly-established “Emergency Election Commission,” which would have 10 members — eight of whom would be legislators or their designees.

The bill must pass a Senate committee before the entire Senate can vote on it during the current special session.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Among his recognitions are McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association. Muller is an alumnus of Jesuit High School and the University of New Orleans and is a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Louisiana with his wife and two sons.