Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoes three Republican anti-vaccination bills
Democratic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has vetoed three anti-vaccination bills, including one that would ban what are known as "vaccine passports."
The other two bills would have shielded businesses that don't require shots for customers and employees from civil liability and another would prohibit the state or state officials from requiring the COVID-19 or SARS vaccines.
Edwards said all of the bills were unnecessary and eroded confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.
Lawmakers could try to override the vetoes if they return to the Capitol as expected for what would be the first veto override session since the new Louisiana Constitution was adopted in 1974.
July 15 is the deadline for legislators to decide whether to convene for a veto override session, which would begin July 20. A veto override requires a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate.
House Bill 349 by Gonzales Republican Kathy Edmonson would make it illegal to put someone's vaccine status on state-issued driver's licenses or ID cards.
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"Overwhelmingly our citizens don't want our driver's licenses to become vaccine passports," Edmonson said during debate over her bill.
Officials with the Office of Motor Vehicles argued the agency can't add anything to a license without the Legislature allowing it, making the bill unnecessary.
"Gov. Edwards has vetoed HB 349 because it contributes to the false narrative that the COVID-19 vaccines are anything other than safe and incredibly effective," Edwards' veto message said.
House Bill 103 by Oil City Republican Rep. Danny McCormick would prevent civil liability for businesses that don't mandate vaccines and also prevents the state from denying business licenses to those who don't require the shot.
"Gov. Edwards has vetoed HB 103 because it is not necessary; it contributes to false narrative that the COVID-19 vaccines are anything other than safe and effective; and it does nothing to protect the health and safety of the public," Edwards' veto message said.
House Bill 498, also by Edmonson, would prohibit the state or state officials from requiring the COVID-19 or SARS vaccines.
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Edmonson said some health science college students contacted her because they feared administrators would prevent them from graduating or continuing their education after receiving what they considered aggressive "coercive" correspondence encouraging the COVID vaccine.
"Gov. Edwards has vetoed HB 498 because it attempts to undermine the public’s faith in the COVID-19 vaccines and change Louisiana’s approach to vaccine requirements for schools and educational facilities, which has been in place for decades without significant controversy," Edwards veto message said.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.