More Than 400 New Louisiana Laws Take Effect In August
BATON ROUGE (AP) — Skipping the seatbelt in a car will carry heftier fines Monday, sex offenders won't be allowed careers in door-to-door sales and children's lemonade stands will be shielded from ticketing as more than 400 new Louisiana laws take effect with the start of August.
Hunters looking to vary their wardrobe will be able to wear fluorescent "blaze pink" as an alternative to the traditional orange. Dancers in strip clubs will have to be at least 21 years old. Underage drinkers won't face jail time. And Louisiana becomes the first state in the nation to protect police, firefighters and emergency medical crews under its hate-crime laws.
The Louisiana Legislature passed the new regulations earlier this year.
However, one batch of laws approved by lawmakers and signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards — aimed at adding new restrictions to abortion — won't kick in Aug. 1 as planned, amid a pending federal lawsuit.
TICKETS AND FINES
Lawmakers exempted minors engaging in sales of less than $500 a year from having to pay an occupational license tax, after saying they heard that municipal officials in other states had written tickets to children for selling lemonade without a license.
While the threat of those tickets will be going away, fines for not wearing a seatbelt will grow. Refusing to buckle up will carry a penalty for a first offense will increase from $25 to $50. Violators will pay $75 each additional time, up from $50.
A fine will be the only thing underage drinkers will face, as a new law does away with the threat of jail time when someone under the age of 21 is caught with alcohol. Underage drinkers can still be cited by law enforcement and face a fine up to $100, but the citation won't appear on a person's criminal history record.
Convicted sex offenders in Louisiana won't be able to solicit door to door for any kind of business, adding to a long list of restrictions that prohibit registered sex offenders from driving a bus or taxi or working in an industry that requires going into someone's home.
Violators of the door-to-door sales ban will face prison sentences from five to 10 years.
In addition, the public will now have limited access to email addresses and online screen names of registered sex offenders, a law aimed at helping parents keep their children away from possible predators when they play video games or participate in other online activities.
OTHER NEW LAWS
As the state's capital city still mourns the shooting deaths of three law enforcement officers, Louisiana's "Blue Lives Matter" law will take effect, expanding its hate-crime statute to protect police and other first responders. Prosecutors will be able to seek stronger penalties when people in those professions are intentionally targeted because of their jobs.
In other areas, Louisiana motorists will soon know the locations of area red light cameras as they approach intersections because municipalities will have to post clear signs within 500 feet of each camera.
State agencies will be banned from asking about job applicants' criminal histories before interviews, a so-called "ban the box" law. New limits will be placed on drone use around schools and correctional facilities. Hospitals will have to make greater efforts to give people information about how to properly care for patients who are discharged.
Louisiana also will have regulations setting out the legal rights of parents, child and surrogate mother when a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for someone else.
Louisiana officials have agreed not to enforce a package of new abortion restrictions slated to take effect Monday, as a judge weighs whether to block the laws permanently.
The regulations would triple a woman's waiting period for an abortion to 72 hours, except for women who live 150 miles or more from the nearest provider; ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure called dilation and extraction, except in limited situations; toughen criteria for doctors who perform abortions; and require abortion providers to bury or cremate fetal remains, among other things.
Two abortion clinics and three doctors are seeking to have the restrictions thrown out. A decision is months away.
– by AP Reporter Melinda Deslatte