10 New Louisiana Laws That Went Into Effect In 2021
With the nation still dealing with containing the coronavirus pandemic, Americans trying to go back to work and get the kids back to school safely, just coping with the day-to-day it's hard enough. This is why most folks in Louisiana may not have noticed more than 200 new laws went into effect on August 1, 2021.
Louisiana lawmakers passed 250 new laws this year, despite having to change and rescheduled legislative sessions due to COVID challenges. The new laws cover everything from health care provider requirements concerning abortion, lesser charges on marijuana possession, restrictions on police officers, including new crimes being added to address stagging car accidents. There are also changes being implemented to when judges must recuse themselves from a case, how roads get new names, and there being no limit on how much money a candidate running for office can receive. Plus, Act 122 will allow for more than 3,000 inmates in Louisiana to get parole!
Yep! A lot has been going on behind the scenes and just a heads up, one of these new laws won't be required until the 2022-23 academic year. Act 386 went into effect on June 16 this year and is legislation filed by District 14 state Sen. Cleo Fields, making kindergarten mandatory. Below is a look at the top 6 new Louisiana laws that will impact people the most.
#1) Mandatory Kindergarten - Act 386
Impacting children who turn 5 years old on or before Sept. 30. The new law passed the Louisiana Senate 38-0 and the House of Representatives 70-32. Starting with the 2022-23 academic year, all Louisiana school districts will be required to implement this new law.
#2) Recreational Marijuana
As of August 1, 2020, if a person in Louisiana is caught in possession of recreational marijuana they will only get a fine, they will not be arrested or face any possibility of jail. The new law makes possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana or a half-ounce a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $100, even for repeat offenders.
Louisiana doctors prescribing drug-induced abortion medication are now required to give their patients a written statement saying the first pill “is not always effective in ending a pregnancy.” In essence, suggest the woman could change their mind and reconsider abortion and try other available options. In addition, doctors that perform abortions will have to submit detailed info including the patient's complications and address, to the state, the parish, and other municipalities.
The attorney general will do reports on abortions performed on girls under the age of 13, and the health department will be required to share this info with the social services department. Rules have also changed on which court a minor seeking an abortion without parental consent must use.
#4) Police Misconduct
As of August 1, 2020, Louisiana implemented new policing laws addressing police misconduct. Following recommendations from a state task force that was put together to combat racial bias in policing. Now in effect officers face new restrictions on the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants. Chokeholds will only be allowed “when the officer reasonably believes he or another person is at risk of great bodily harm or when deadly force is authorized.”
Police departments and agencies are now required to increase their minority recruitment efforts and if they want to be eligible for state grants, they must also hold anti-bias training. From now on if a Louisiana officer engages in misconduct, that officer's state certification will be in jeopardy of suspension or revocation. This procedure is directly aimed at preventing officers who have been fired, from moving from one department to another.
#5) New Requirements For Judges To Recuse Themselves
From now on Louisiana, a judge of any trial or appellate court shall be recused upon any of the grounds:
(1) Is The judge is a witness in the cause.
(2) Has The judge has been employed or consulted as an attorney in the cause or has previously been associated with an attorney during the latter's employment in the cause, and the judge participated in representation in the cause.
(3) Is The judge is the spouse of a party, or of an attorney employed in the cause or the judge's parent, child, or immediate family member is a party or attorney employed in the cause.
(4) Is The judge is biased, prejudiced, or interested in the cause or its outcome or biased or prejudiced toward or against the parties or the parties' attorneys or any witness to such an extent that he the judge would be unable to conduct fair and impartial proceedings.
#6) New Prison Standards and Parole Eligablilitiy - Act 122
A new prison standard under Act 122, is now law and will allow nearly 3,000 lifers, habitual criminals, and old-timers to apply for parole after spending several years behind bars. The new law addresses different sentences and parole eligibilities for the same crime depending on when the person was convicted over the past three decades.