Louisiana panel approves permitless concealed carry for adults

Published: May 17, 2023

By: Jenna Bridges, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE, La. — A House committee on crime advanced a bill 8-1 that would allow permitless concealed carry for individuals 18 and older.

Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, brought what he said was a “constitutional carry” bill before the committee Tuesday. McCormick’s bill would amend present law that only allows concealed carry for 21 or older who undergo the proper training to receive a permit.

Rep. McCormick told the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice that his bill, House Bill 131, would mimic current rules that allows individuals 18 and over to openly carry a firearm. His bill would allow individuals to carry a concealed weapon at the same age.

“So basically, what you’re doing with this bill is that you’re trying to get every law-abiding citizen in the state of Louisiana the same ability that every criminal does,” Rep. Raymond E. Garofalo Jr. R-Chalmette, said. “Every criminal right now can carry a concealed weapon with no permit, no training, no nothing.”

Read more at WWL-TV

Two bills clarifying abortion language to protect physicians die in committee

Published: May 17, 2023

By: Allison Allsop, LSU Manship School News Service

A House Committee killed two bills Tuesday meant to clarify abortion language. (Allison Allsop/LSU Manship School News Service)

BATON ROUGE–A House committee killed two bills Tuesday that were meant to clarify the language of abortion laws to protect physicians making difficult choices.

House Bill 598, written by Rep. Candace Newell, D-New Orleans, was blocked in the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice in a 7-5 vote.

The committee rejected a similar measure, House Bill 461, by Rep. Mary DuBuisson, R-Slidell, in an 8-5 vote.

All the votes to kill both bills came from Republicans. Four Democrats and the committee’s chairman, Rep. Joseph Marino III, a political independent from Gretna, supported both bills.

Read more at BIZ Magazine

Louisiana advances bill to make fathers share costs of pregnancy

Published: May 16, 2023

By: Claire Sullivan, LSU Manship School News Service

Credit: mikumistock – stock.adobe.com

BATON ROUGE, La. — A bill that would allow mothers to recover half of out-of-pocket, pregnancy-related medical expenses from the father of their child cleared another hurdle Tuesday.

House Bill 5, by Rep. Lawrence “Larry” Frieman, R-Abita Springs, moved forward from the Senate Judiciary A Committee. It is one of several bills filed this session to address the realities of post-Roe v. Wade in Louisiana.

Mark Mansfield, who has practiced family law in St. Tammany Parish for more than 20 years, said he began talking about legislation like this with fellow lawyers around the time of the Supreme Court decision that triggered a near-total abortion ban in the state last summer.

“For those of those that are pregnant, we want to give them a chance to recover the expenses the same way they can do when the child is alive,” Mansfield said.

Read more at WWL-TV

Students support bill to deal with fears of school shootings

Published: May 16, 2023
By: Claire Sullivan – LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE, La. – High schoolers often worry about prom and exams. But a growing number fear being shot in school, students testified at the Capitol.

A bill aiming to address those concerns, called the School Safety Act of 2023, advanced Monday through the Senate Committee on Finance.

The proposal would establish the Center for Safe Schools within the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. It would provide panic emergency notification and anonymous reporting systems for schools.

The bill also would require schools to hold shooting drills during high traffic or passing times in the hallways, have blood control kits and training to use them in school and create district threat assessment teams.

Sen. Barry Milligan, R-Shreveport, proposed a bill to address concerns about school shootings. (Photo credit: Courtesy of the Louisiana Senate)

Sen. Barry S. Milligan, R-Shreveport, brought the legislation after consulting with the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, made up of high school students from around the state who engage with the legislative process.

The proposal addresses a growing American problem and fears felt by students nationwide.

Read more at KTBS

Louisiana lawmakers sink their own pay raises

Published: May 15, 2023

By: Allison Allsop, LSU Manship School New Service

The House Appropriations Committee rejected a pay raise for legislators Monday, May 15, 2023. (Francis Dinh/LSU Manship School News Service)

The House Appropriations Committee voted 16-5 Monday to kill a bill that would have increased the salary for legislators.

House Bill 149 had proposed increasing their pay to roughly $39,000 a year from $16,800, not including the daily stipend for lawmakers who live outside the Baton Rouge area. The committee rejected the bill after much discussion about service, privilege and ability.

Many legislators voiced their concern for supporting a raise in their own salaries when many residents of Louisiana deserve pay raises even more. Some members also worried about how it would look to vote to increase lawmaker pay after the same committee removed direct state funding for up to $3,000 in pay raises for K-12 teachers from the governor’s proposed budget.

After several members of the committee voiced their disapproval, Rep. Joseph Marino, a Gretna Independent who sponsored the pay raise proposal, said many lawmakers refused to pass the bill because they are running for reelection and worry it will harm them.

Read more at Louisiana Illuminator

House panel rejects rape exception to abortion ban

Published: May 10, 2023

By: Molly Ryan, LSU Manship School News Service

Rep. Delisha Boyd, D-Orleans, discussed her bill that would have provided exceptions to abortion in cases of rape and incest. Photo by Molly Ryan / LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE — A bill that would have added exceptions to Louisiana’s abortion ban for cases of rape and incest was rejected Wednesday by the House Criminal Justice Committee.

After hours of emotional testimony on both sides of the issue, lawmakers shot down the measure in a 10-5 vote, marking another blow to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ legislative agenda.

Pro-choice witnesses said that the current abortion ban, one of the strictest in the nation, would force young girls who are victims of rape to carry potentially dangerous pregnancies to term. They emphasized the possible negative mental health effects of being forced to carry a rapists’ child.

Several of the witnesses, including the bill’s author, Rep. Delisha Boyd, D-New Orleans, shared their own experiences with rape. Boyd said her mother became pregnant with her at 15 years old as the result of a rape. She said her mother struggled for years before dying at age 28.

In hindsight, Boyd said she understands the depth of her mother’s struggles and could not imagine forcing a young girl to go through the same thing.

Read more at The Daily Star

Should farmland be used as solar panel sites?

Published: May 8, 2023

By: Frank Kidd, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE–The House Agriculture Committee advanced a resolution to create a task
force to study the impact of using farmland for solar energy developments.

House Concurrent Resolution 45, written by Rep. Phillip DeVillier, R-Eunice, stated that the
Louisiana Solar Siting Task Force would “study the impact of, and alternatives to, locating solar
energy developments on farmland.”

The discussion featured Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, expressing his concern that solar
farms would destroy more jobs than they would create and that the task force would be filled by
members with ties to the solar farming industry.

Rep. Vincent St. Blanc III, R-Franklin, responded that the task force’s job would be to protect
farmers from making costly mistakes. He noted that many farmers’ decisions to lease land for
large installations of solar panels did not pan out.

Read more at Bossier Press-Tribune

Bill that would ban LGBTQ employment discrimination is shot down by Louisiana lawmakers

Published: May 4, 2023

By: Gabby Jimenez and Claire Sullivan, LSU Manship School News Service

John Raymond and Rep. Delisha Boyd, D-New Orleans, testify in front of the House Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations. (Gabby Jimenez/LSU Manship School News Service)

A House committee on Wednesday shot down a bill in a 7-5 vote that would have banned employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill would have added to current state law, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin or cultural hairstyle.

Rep. Delisha Boyd, D-New Orleans, told the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee that her bill would help address a worker shortage in Louisiana.

“Skilled and talented people are in short supply in our state,” Boyd said. “We need to expand our employment pool regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation.”

Melissa Flournoy, a board chair of 10,000 Women Louisiana, a progressive organization, said that with other bills up this session opposed by the LGBTQ community, passing this proposal would send the message that “Louisiana doesn’t hate gay people.”

Read more at WWNO

Bill would require high school students to take financial literacy course to graduate

Published: May 3, 2023

By: Jenna Bridges, LSU Manship School News Service


BATON ROUGE, La. – The House Education Committee advanced a bill Tuesday requiring high school students to take a financial literacy course starting with the 2026 and 2027 graduating classes.

State Superintendent Cade Brumley and State Treasurer John Schroder joined Rep. Nicholas Muscarello Jr., R-Hammond, to introduce the bill. It would integrate instruction in life skills with instruction in economics, including income and taxes, money management, investment and spending and the importance of personal savings.

Rep. Nicholas Muscarello Jr. proposed a bill that would require high school students to take a financial literacy course to graduate. (Photo credit: Mike Hasten/Louisiana House of Representatives)

“Financial illiteracy is an epidemic in the United States,” Rep. Muscarello said.

While the bill would require 11th and 12th grade students to take one unit of financial literacy, it would not create an additional course required for graduation. Instead, financial literacy would be worked into the pathway, acting as a replacement for a math course or an elective.

Read more at KTBS

Families of fentanyl victims could sue drug distributors, countries under this Louisiana bill

Published: May 2, 2023

By: Piper Naudin, LSU Manship School News Service

The Louisiana State Capitol. March 2021. (Phoebe Jones/WWNO)

A House committee on Monday advanced a bill that would make it easier for victims and their families to sue illicit fentanyl distributors and even countries in which the drugs were made.

Lafayette attorney Robert Broussard joined Rep. John Stefanski, R-Crowley, to introduce the House Bill 586, which is intended to help deal with the nationwide increase in fentanyl-related deaths.

Broussard recalled how his daughter, JonTerez “Jaja” Antonia Broussard, was 20 years old when she unintentionally ingested fentanyl-laced drugs and died.

Broussard emphasized that she was the inspiration and motivation behind House Bill 586.

Read more at WWNO