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Look back at bills passing through Louisiana's state legislature during special session on crime

1 month 4 weeks 2 days ago Friday, February 23 2024 Feb 23, 2024 February 23, 2024 9:34 PM February 23, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - During the first week of the Louisiana special session on crime, lawmakers addressed a handful of issues from expanding the death penalty to access to violent teen offenders' records. 

Representative Nicholas Muscarello's (R) bill to expand the death penalty adds electrocution and nitrogen gas as new methods. The death penalty has not been used in Louisiana since 2010 under former Governor Bobby Jindal. The bill passed through the State House 71 to 29.

"When you have mass murders or situations in churches and things of that nature, [or] you're targeting people for race or just religious beliefs, I think the death penalty is appropriate," Republican Sen. Eddie Lambert said.

Critics disagree with the death penalty proposal. State Rep. Edmond Jordan (D) says the punishment is risky, and there are bound to be mistakes.

Another goal for Landry's session call was transparency, especially when it came to juvenile violent offenders. A bill from Rep. Tony Bacala (R) allows for the release of criminal records for someone 17 and under. He says it's to keep victims in the know about their cases. The bill is headed to the Senate after passing in the House 72 to 30.

"Transparency includes being able to look at the records of a criminal prosecution," Bacala said.

Also for minors, lawmakers proposed lowering the minimum age a person can be tried as an adult to 17 in violent crimes. That bill from Sen. Stewart Cathey Jr.(R) passed in the senate by a vote of 33 to 4.

"When you look across our major metropolitan areas, when you talk to district attorneys, chiefs of police, local sheriffs, the overlying issue that they always come back to are 17-year-olds," Cathey said.

Anyone 18-years-old and older could soon carry concealed firearms without a permit. State Sen. Blake Miguez authored legislation to lower the age restriction to owning a firearm and remove concealed carry permits. 

That bill passed the Senate by a vote of 28 to 10 and is headed to the House.

"Arkansas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, all states in the South [that have this legislation]. We're competing now to be the 28th state to pass constitutional carry," Miguez said.

The entire session has gotten a lot of push back from people who say many of the bills proposed are not proactive. 

"We need to deal with the holistic issues of crime and public safety," Rep. Jordan said.

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