New Or Modified State Laws
More than 230 new Louisiana statutes, either adjustments to existing provisions or entirely new laws, take effect Monday. Among the changes:
—Abortion clinics must give more information to women before they can terminate a pregnancy, including new signs telling pregnant women that they cannot be coerced into abortion, that fathers are liable for child support and that adoptive parents may pay for prenatal care and birth expenses.
—Social networking sites, chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks are off-limits to sex offenders convicted of video voyeurism or a list of crimes involving a minor. Probation and parole officers and judges can make exceptions. Conviction of the crime of unlawful use or access of social media carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years for a first offense.
—Truck drivers with limited vision can haul non-hazardous loads in Louisiana. A driver must have 20/40 vision in at least one eye without a corrective lens, be able to distinguish traffic signal colors and have two years of commercial driving experience within five years before getting the driving waiver.
—TVs are allowed in the front seat of vehicles, removing a provision that restricted television screens to behind the driver's seat of a car, truck or other vehicle. However, the screen cannot be visible by a driver while a vehicle is in motion.
—Penalties for sexually abusing elderly or disabled people are increased, to a minimum of 25 years in prison and electronic monitoring for life.
—Louisiana residents no longer need a state license to shoot or trap wild pigs. The only restriction on feral hog hunting is that the hunter must give the local sheriff's office 24 hours' notice of the plans.
—Penalties are boosted for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. A first violation is $500, and a second violation is $1,000. Third and subsequent violations carry a $2,500 fine and involve a license suspension for 30 days to six months. The increased penalties don't apply to health care facilities.
—A six-month residency requirement before someone can get a concealed handgun permit in Louisiana is removed.
—Anyone who knowingly produces or possesses a false law enforcement badge faces fines and jail time. Fines for a first offense are up to $200 and the prison sentence up to 90 days for distributing and manufacturing, and up to $50 and as much as 10 days in prison for possessing a false badge. An exemption is included for novelty badges.
—Certain elderly inmates convicted of drug offenses are eligible for parole consideration. Nonviolent inmates aged 60 or over who weren't convicted of a sex offense can be considered for parole if they've served 10 years of their sentence and completed a high school equivalency program, among other criteria.
—Probation and parole fees are increasing. General fees are growing by $10, a new $150 fee is being charged for processing parolees who want to transfer to another state, a fee up to $150 is allowed to cover costs of background investigations done before offenders are sentenced and a penalty for overdue fee payments is doubling to $11.
—Taxpayers can direct their income tax refund money to the Louisiana Food Bank Association.
—The state's alcohol and tax commission can conduct permitting hearings through teleconferences and video conferences.