Senate panels advance bills to curb domestic violence

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In an effort to tighten laws protecting domestic abuse victims, Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, left, discusses legislation named after Tracy Andrus’, right, daughter who was murdered by her husband. (Photo credit: Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service)

By: Madeline Meyer, LSU Manship School News Service

Published: May 21, 2019

BATON ROUGE–Louisiana legislators advanced bills in Senate judiciary committees Tuesday that would curb domestic violence, take steps to prevent sexual abuse of youth athletes, and study incentives to reduce the state’s high divorce rate.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have taken strides to address and prevent domestic violence.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat seeking re-election in the fall, has expressed his concerns about the high number of domestic violence incidents in the state.

“It is shocking but true, Louisiana ranks third nationally when it comes to domestic violence, and we should all be moved to bring an end to this senseless act,” the governor said at an event last October in which he raised awareness for survivors and their families.

Members of the Senate Judiciary C Committee advanced House Bill 36 by Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, which would require local law enforcement officers to receive and review a copy of protective orders. The bill would also require law enforcement agency to inform victims that filing a protective order does not automatically press criminal charges against their perpetrator.

Protective orders, commonly referred to as restraining orders, prohibit a person from being near another person with the intention to prevent abuse.

HB36, referred to as “Heather’s Law,” is named in honor of Heather Mouton, who was shot and killed by her husband last May in Crowley while their three children were present. Although Mouton had filed a restraining order, the courts had not yet taken up the case to enforce the order.

Read more in The Advocate.

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