Hundreds of new laws go into effect in Louisiana

Hundreds of new laws go into effect in Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - From Blue Lives Matter to restrictions on exotic dancers, more than 400 new laws are now in effect in Louisiana as of August 1.

CLICK HERE to view a full list of all the new laws
Many of those measures, passed during this year's legislative session, deal with local matters, such as renaming highways and changing certain municipal rules.
Others have garnered national attention, including legislation that would allow individuals who intentionally attack a police officer or other first responders to be tried with a hate crime.

Its implementation comes just two weeks after three law enforcement officers were killed in the capital city.
"As we've seen over the past few months, in most recent months, these officers can be specifically targeted and have been targeted and they continue to be targeted," said Hillar Moore, district attorney for East Baton Rouge Parish.

Moore said applying the hate crime statute is not easy because you have to prove intent.

"Proving it is very difficult. I'd not only have to show that not only was the person a policeman, but the person who did the act specifically wanted to do the act and directed the attack at the officer because he was an officer," Moore said.

Other new laws also deal with crime and punishment. The fines for driving without a seat belt are going up. First time offenses will now cost $50 rather than $25. Meanwhile, repeat offenses will carry a $75 fine, up from $50.

Underage drinkers will no longer face jail time, but could still face up to a $100 fine for drinking under age 21.

In the courtroom, victims and their families will now have the chance to ask to sit farther away from defendants. In Baton Rouge, judges and the district attorney said they are ahead of the game, with rooms and counselors already in place to keep families apart.

"We have surely often found threats do come before or right after court appearances, or at the courthouse itself. So it's helpful for the more rural areas that maybe didn't have the procedures in place that we did," Moore said.

Meanwhile, legislation aimed at cutting back on human trafficking is also going into effect. The new law raises the required age for exotic dancers in Louisiana bars and clubs from 18 to 21.

In lighter fare, hunters will no longer be forced to wear orange. They can now also wear "blaze pink" instead.

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