BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — State Democrats shared their frustrations after the Speaker of the House removed Democrats from their committee chairs. This comes after Republicans called for the removal of all democratic committee chairs following the failed veto override session.
Rep. Chad Brown and Rep. Vincent Pierre were removed as chairmen of the Insurance and Transportation committees. Independent Rep. Roy Daryl Adams and Rep. Travis Johnson were taken out of their seats in Appropriations and Transportation committees as well. Adams, Brown, and Johnson changed their original vote in favor of the transgender athlete bill to oppose the veto override.
State Democrats said the Speaker has broken their trust. The Democrats helped get the Speaker elected in 2020 with the promise of five chairmen seats. Now they are down to three.
“We aren’t thinking about trying to retaliate against the Speaker… what this does not do is get the Republicans any closer to 70,” Rep. Edward ‘Ted’ James II said. “So they were trying to see if they had the strength to override the veto and they know that they don’t.”
Republicans worked to get Independents and Democrats to vote in favor of overriding the governor’s veto on the transgender athlete bill. But they fell short by two votes, with one Republican voting against it. The state GOP suggested Schexnayder be removed from his position after the veto session.
“I am calling on Speaker Clay Schexnayder to immediately replace all Democrat house committee chairs with Republicans who are members of the conservative caucus. If this does not happen, then a broader conversation about how the House of Representatives is run will become necessary,” said LA GOP Chairman Louis Gurvich in a statement last month.
Rep. James, the Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, said the Democrats aren’t going to try to oust him but he believes it puts any bipartisan efforts in jeopardy. He said nothing has been done in the last two years without the support of Democrats which includes the Speaker’s major wins in tax reform and infrastructure funding.
“This veto session was not something the Democrats asked for,” Rep. James said. “Each and every one of us returned our ballots saying it was unnecessary. I don’t know if he is trying to score points with the conservative caucus or with the state GOP but the one thing I know he has accomplished is further dividing the body.”
It is reported those committee chairs will be replaced with Republicans. What is not clear is if this move is enough to satisfy the demands from the GOP and how the broken trust on the other side of the aisle will impact the impending redistricting session.
We reached out to the Louisiana GOP for comment on the committee changes but did not hear back.