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Advocates for disable talk to state lawmakers about overriding Jindal's veto

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

Last week Gov. Bobby Jindal used a line item veto to cut nearly $4 million from the state budget for people with disabilities. This week, the disabled and their families are urging lawmakers across the state to go into special session to reverse the veto.

A group of concerned citizens, some in wheelchairs, went to Sen. Sherri Buffington's Keithville office to deliver a message Wednesday.

"We have approximately 10,000 people that are waiting for services, up to 10 years," said Duane Ebarb, a disabled activist. "If the veto holds in place like it is right now, it'll be up to 11 years before they receive service."

Buffington wasn't there, but the advocates gave her assistant a copy of a statewide petition urging lawmakers to fight the veto and put back the money Gov. Jindal cut.

"They made a decision, stand behind it," said Laura Head, a parent to a disabled child. "Just because we have a governor that decides no? They shouldn't let one man make all of these decisions."

The next stop was Sen. Greg Tarver's office in Shreveport. That encounter didn't go as well.

"The only way I would vote for a special session is if I knew for a fact that we could override the governor," Tarver told the group.

"Can we count on you to hold your ballot," asked activist Frances Kelley.

"I mailed my ballot in today," Tarver responded.

Kelley asked, "Why would you do that?"

"Why would I do that? Because I know we don't have the votes," he said.

The crowd was not happy about Tarver's response.

"It sounds like the senators and representatives have listened to each other, but they are not listening to their constituents," said Sam Beech, parent of a disabled child.

Senator Tarver said going to a special session would cost the tax payers about $400,000; money he said the state can not afford to spend with no guarantee of a different outcome. Tarver said he plans to works to find money.

The Secretary of State's office said there is still time for legislators to change their vote to yes for a special session. All they have to do is withdraw their ballot before the July 11th deadline.

 

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