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Following Special Session, Louisiana Lawmakers Consider More Crime Measures

A bill that would undo restrictions on police going public with photos of criminal suspects advanced from a Louisiana Senate committee on Tuesday. It was one of multiple proposals the panel approved, indicating that lawmakers still have stricter measures to offer even after a special session devoted to crime, The Louisiana Illuminator reports. The bill from Sen. Alan Seabaugh, R-Shreveport, would appeal a state law approved two years ago that limits law enforcement’s use of criminal suspect and arrestee photos. Police now have discretion to release mugshots if they are fugitives from the law or present an “imminent threat” to the public. Sen. Royce Duplessis, D-New Orleans, then a member of the Louisiana House, authored the law to rein in what he argued were the long-term impacts of a booking photo going public, especially for low-level offenders and persons who are cleared of wrongdoing. Seabaugh’s bill would erase the law entirely, although he said Tuesday he was willing to reinstate a portion that restricts for-profit websites from forcing people to pay to have their booking photos removed.


Several other criminal justice measures are being considered by the legislature. Persons who steal packages delivered to someone’s home doorstep could be treated as felons under a bill from Sen. Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, which the committee approved. Another Hensgens bill seeks to deter organized retail crime, where thieves repeatedly target stores they can steal several items from at a time. The proposal would also allow police to go after anyone who coordinates such illegal activity, he said. Sen. Stewart Cathey, R-Monroe crafted a bill to require life sentences for persons found guilty of child sex trafficking. A new law Sen. Beth Mizell, R-Franklinton, has sponsored would criminalize the purchase, sale, manufacturing, and shipping of sex dolls made to resemble a child. Mizell also convinced the committee to advance her bill that outlaws the over-the-counter sale of tianeptine, an antidepressant and anxiety drug that has not been approved for use in the United States. Sen. Jimmy Harris, D-New Orleans, wants to help New Orleans authorities crack down on people who stake out parade-viewing spots on the city’s streetcar line. A bill the Senate committee approved would add those thoroughfares to a law that prohibits blocking a “highway of commerce.”

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