Looks like Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards is preparing to beat a full retreat, then declare victory of sorts.
SB 44 by Republican state Sen. Beth Mizell is set to force him into this mode. The bill, now headed to his desk, mirrors laws enacted in over a dozen states, prohibiting biological males from competing in scholastic and collegiate sports designated for females only. It differs little from a version last year that Edwards vetoed which the Senate, but not the House in a vote essentially echoing party divisions, voted to override.
MacAoidh laid out some pretty good reasons why that won’t happen again in the House, where last year representatives who voted for the bill then turned against it on the override consideration will not replicate that behavior this year if Edwards dares cast a veto, by and large. Add to this that earlier this year Edwards already suffered humiliation with an overturned veto that put the state’s congressional districts in place for the next decade, and it looks less and less likely he will bleed more power as a symbolic sacrifice to his party’s and ideology’s imperative of normalizing transgenderism for all everywhere.
And he may be setting the stage for backing down. The only significant difference, that barely rises to the level of cosmetic, between last year’s and this year’s version is this year’s doesn’t include intramural sports. Which change Edwards insisted last week – before final passage – on his hagiographic monthly radio program was significant enough that he wouldn’t commit to a veto one way or the other.
If this doesn’t draw a laugh, you don’t have a sense of humor. Intramurals can become a bit competitive, but most students participate for the camaraderie or to pursue personal bests. Females at that level aren’t going to care very much, if at all, whether some hairy opponent with male sex organs mixes it up with them, and if such a player comes barreling into home plate on the dirt they seldom would be upset with letting that run cross rather than try to make the tag and risk injury.
Competing for your school against others is an entirely different matter. Much of those student-athletes’ psyches are invested in victory to the point they sacrifice dozens of hours a week in practice, and enough victories can bring you glory, medals, and/or professional careers. Compared to the almost nonexistent stakes in intramural competition, they are many magnitudes higher in scholastic and collegiate competition, and the unfairness of much more physically capable males competing against females becomes far more pronounced and consequential to the lives involved.
So, it’s absolutely ludicrous to consider the bill suddenly is so different, when in terms of its substantive impact 99.44 percent of it remains the same, to reconsider its veto on anything approaching principle as opposed to pure cravenness. Irrelevant, however, if you’re a chief executive in search of a fig leaf to explain away an embarrassing U-turn marking so definitively your vastly reduced meaningfulness in governing.
With his broadcast remarks, Edwards probably wanted to see how the votes would turn out and then act accordingly. Now with answer in hand, his most likely course of action seems to not do anything and let the bill become law, all the while protesting despite its so-called improvements it still allegedly would have some negative effects.