BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana House lawmakers failed to overturn Gov. John Bel Edwards' veto of a bill that would bar transgender student-athletes from school sports teams.
The 68-30 vote on Wednesday was just two shorts of the 70 votes needed to override the veto. The motion's failure is a significant blow to Republican-led efforts to enact the new law in a historic veto session that has seen no bill rejections overturned so far.
The Louisiana Senate voted 26-12 on Tuesday to overturn the veto, but without the House's support, the bill will not become law.
Republicans were unable to sway the handful of Democrats needed to reach the supermajority hurdle to mark what would have been the first time in nearly 30 years that the Louisiana Legislature has overridden a gubernatorial veto.
House Speaker Clay Schexnayder said Monday that he was "comfortable 100%" that his chamber had the votes to override the governor. Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton), who authored the bill, said constituents wanted the bill to become law.
"If you have not heard the voices of the large majority of people in this state by emails, by phone calls, by personal visits, there's no words I can give you,” Mizell said.
Opponents called the bill a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, saying it could hurt not only a vulnerable part of Louisiana’s population but the Louisiana economy as well.
“You either want business to come to Louisiana, or you want to discriminate. We're about to make a decision,” Sen. Karen Carter-Peterson (D-New Orleans) said.
There were reports that the NCAA could pull the Final Four from New Orleans if the bill passed. The New Orleans Advocate reports that the NCAA informed Gov. Edwards that the state’s transgender sports ban goes against its policy of anti-discrimination.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.