BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - There are now stiffer penalties for people who assault officers in Louisiana.
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law Thursday that makes it a felony to attack law enforcement with any kind of weapon.
Before the new law, aggravated assault on a peace officer only applied if the offender used a gun. Now, all weapons are included.
Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, who authored HB 582, said a district attorney in her area brought some of these cases to her attention, including one where officers were attacked by a man with an axe. The suspect only faced a misdemeanor.
"If someone attacked me as an everyday citizen, it's aggravated assault," Jackson said. "But if you attack a peace officer without us expanding the law, then it was just a misdemeanor. So it became very important because I think we should protect those who protect us."
The governor also signed HB 802 into law which reduces the time inmates have to wait before they are eligible for parole, and rather than requiring a unanimous vote from a parole board to be released, they only need two-thirds majority.