Louisiana special session on crime ends early: What to know

Louisiana special session on crime ends early: What to know
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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — The special crime-focused legislative session wrapped up early on Thursday after lawmakers passed all of the controversial tough-on-crime bills touted by Gov. Jeff Landry.

On the final day of the session, legislators approved HB6, which expands the methods of how Louisiana can execute death row inmates. The bill added nitrogen hypoxia and the electric chair into the toolkit. This is part of the effort of the new governor to resume executions. Louisiana has only put one person to death over the last two decades. There are currently 57 people on the state’s death row.

Family members of victims of people on death row sat in the balcony to watch the heated debate play out in the Senate. Landry joined them to watch the votes happen. Two inmates have already exhausted all of their appeals and would likely be executed not long after the bill goes into effect.

Also given final passage are two bills that would require inmates to serve more of their sentences in prison. HB9 does away with parole for future offenders starting in August of this year. HB10 also significantly reduces the amount of time that can be shaved off based on good behavior to just 15%. HB11 extends how long someone has to be on parole, for those who still qualify, and adds further consequences for those who violate their parole.

Lawmakers also passed SB3, which will designate adults as 17 years or older in the criminal justice system. This means 17-year-olds will be tried as adults when they commit a crime and will be housed in adult facilities.

Louisiana lawmakers also passed the so-called “Constitutional Carry” bill that some conservatives have been trying to pass for years. SB1 allows people 18 and older to conceal carry a firearm without training or a permit. The current permitting process will remain in place for those who want to go through the training or need the permit for other states. 

Some law enforcement agencies were concerned the bill would lead to more risky situations for officers out on the streets. Those for the bill said it brings law-abiding citizens a better chance to protect themselves in public. Louisiana is already an open-carry state.

In response to recent violent carjacking stories coming out of New Orleans, lawmakers passed HB7 to increase the penalty for carjacking to nearly double what it is currently.

There were many questions about how much all this legislation will cost. The Legislative Fiscal Office estimated together it will cost millions of dollars a year. However, legislators questioned their calculation methods and claimed it wouldn’t cost that much.

The bills passed now head to the governor’s next for signature and he is anticipated to sign them over the next week.

Members of the Louisiana Legislature released statements after the dismissal of the special session.

“The House accomplished the mission of addressing crime in our state so Louisiana can be a safe and peaceful place to live, raise our families, and enjoy all the things that make it great. We heard a lot of debate and at the end of the day we voted on behalf of the people we represent. I’m pleased with the final outcome and our overall focus on the victims, not the criminals. Looking ahead, the House members and I look forward to addressing insurance costs and focusing on solutions to education issues.”

Phillip DeVillier, Speaker of the House

“Senators worked together to not only debate the measures brought to us during this crime session, but also discuss the potential impacts to the state’s budget. Supporting law enforcement and providing justice to the victims of crime were promises many of us made to our constituents. With this special session complete, we’ll be working hard to get ready for the regular session and handling issues that can jumpstart our economy and improve lives.”

Cameron Henry, Senate President

The 2024 Regular Session is scheduled to meet on Monday, March 11. Over 525 bills have been filed for consideration, according to the Legislative Communications Office.

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Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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