There will be no veto override session on Aug. 2. State Senate President Joel Chaisson has already secured written confirmations from 36 of the 38 sitting senators (theres one vacancy) saying they do not want to reconvene to consider overriding any of Gov. Bobby Jindals vetoes. Chaisson got the confirmations just one day after ballots were sent out to legislators.
This news pushes the whole question of legislative payback back to next year. In the mean time, Jindal is likely to call a special session to spend an anticipated $1 billion surplus that many expect to see certified from the last fiscal year, which ended June 30.
Chaisson had worked quietly behind the scenes to fend off a veto session, not necessarily out of loyalty to Jindal. In a confidential memo to senators that Chaisson sent earlier this week, he stated that he was just as disgusted as many of them at the vetoes and at the administration for not working more closely with lawmakers during the session. Chaisson said Friday that the whole veto mess could have been easily avoided if the governor and/or his top aides had better communicated their specific objections and the governors objective criteria to lawmakers, rather then let leges put pet projects into the budget, only to see them vetoed later.
He vetoed some very worthwhile projects that have a tremendous positive impact on the people they serve, Chaisson said in a press release Friday. To carelessly label all of the projects he vetoed as slush funds is disrespectful not only to the citizens of this state who run those senior centers, youth programs, Habitat for Humanity organizations, and other worthwhile programs that help real people with real problems, but also to the constituencies they serve not to mention to the legislators who worked so hard to address these significant need in their districts.
This does not put the matter of a showdown with Jindal to rest. It merely postpones any skirmishes until next year.