Walter Pierce

Hundreds of new laws going into effect

by Walter Pierce

Thinking about mounting a stereo on the hood of your car, shooting off your Glock during the Christmas parade or selling novelty lighters? Fuhgidabowdit!

Some 250 news laws go into effect at midnight, laws that were either signed into existence by Gov. Bobby Jindal or allowed to become law through gubernatorial inattention. Many of the new laws are parochial, applicable to a single parish or taxing district. The impetus for others were newsworthy events leading into the session. Act No. 150 (HB 44 by Rep. Juan Lafonta of New Orleans and co-sponsored by 17 other reps including Lafayette’s Rickey Hardy), for instance, creates the crime of discharging a firearm during a parade. The law was borne of a Mardi Gras parade shooting on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans that left seven people including a baby injured.

Other new laws are more functional. Act No. 126, from House Bill 159 co-sponsored by Carencro Rep. Bobby Badon, extends the period of validity for drilling permits. Badon’s HB 410, signed into law as Act No. 208, shields farmers for shooting just about any four-legged critter messing with their crops. Act No. 305 (HB 731) is one among several new laws pertaining to education; it provides for criminal penalties for parents whose children are habitually truant or tardy at school. Rep. Fred Mills’ HB 551 targeting Chinese seafood, signed into law by the governor on July 7 as Act No. 330, could create a public awareness campaign and stricter testing on Chinese seafood products, provided the state and federal government pony up some cash.

Speaking of cash, Rep. Hollis Downs’ push to curb speed traps also goes into effect Saturday. Act No. 188 (HB 626) requires fines for speeding 10 miles an hour or less over the posted speed limit on interstates be forwarded to the state treasury rather than into the coffer of the town issuing the citation. The law could have an adverse impact on small towns like Washington in north St. Landry Parish, which derives a majority of its town revenue by posting officers in the median on I-49 on the far side of an overpass and ticketing speeders.

And then there are the laws filed under the broad heading “eyebrow-raiser.” Act No. 124, which moved through the Legislature as House Bill 55, prohibits the installation of an amplification system to the chassis of a vehicle for the purpose of broadcasting sound outside the vehicle. Who installs a stereo on the outside of the car? Not to be outdone, Act No. 140 (HB 490) clears the way for a Delta Sigma Theta special prestige license plate, while Act No. 293 (HB 522) creates a wild dolphin prestige license plate.

To see the complete list of new laws, log on to the Legislature’s Web site and click on the blue “Effective Dates of Acts” link.