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The House-approved Max Gruver Act is sailing through the legislative process, passing out of a Senate Judiciary Committee without objection this morning. It calls for tougher penalties for those convicted of hazing. Police say Gruver died after an alcohol induced hazing incident last September at LSU. Lafayette Representative Nancy Landry authors the bill.

 

East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore testified in favor of the legislation which makes it a felony to commit hazing.

 

Senate Passes 15 Week Abortion Ban

14 hours ago
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A 15 week abortion ban passes the Senate on a 31-3 vote. The bill mirrors a Mississippi law recently passed that has been halted by a federal judge. Shreveport Senator and Democrat John Milkovich says he’s well aware his potential law will lead to an expensive court battle, but it’s a price he’s willing to pay.

 

Milkovich says, "If we can save babies, I think it's worth it."

 

Milkovich says 15 week old fetuses show clear signs of life.

 

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The switch to make Louisiana juries come to unanimous decisions will face a tough test in the House Criminal Justice committee today. Currently only 10 out of twelve jurors have to agree if someone is guilty of a crime. A proposed constitutional amendment seeks to make all felony convictions unanimous. Christie Smith is the legislative liaison for the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

 

Smith says, "This bill seeks to install the same system that works in 49 other states and all federal courts including those in Louisiana."

 

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The Senate passed a bill 22-14 that would allow riverboat casinos to expand their operations on land. Louisiana is the only state that requires floating gambling halls to keep all gaming operations on water. Franklin Senator Bret Allain says he can’t support the legislation, because it is an expansion of gaming.

 

But Metairie Senator Danny Martiny says the bill allows the riverboats to invest more into their properties, which will bring more tax dollars to the state.

 

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The Senate Education committee moved a measure that allows public school teachers to pray with students. The bill would further existing law that allows school employees to volunteer to supervise voluntary student-initiated, student-led prayer. Bossier City Senator Ryan Gatti.

 

Gatti says the improved legislation will make it easier for the kids to do what they want to.

 

The measure moves to the Senate floor. Metairie Senator Conrad Appel thinks the bill will only get the state sued and he voted against it.

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A bill that would allow riverboat casinos to expand onto land is scheduled to be heard by the full Senate today, after being pulled from consideration last week. The bill would remove restrictions for Louisiana’s 15 floating gambling halls. Louisiana Casino Association Executive Director Wade Duty says more profitable casinos means more revenue for the state.

 

Duty says, "Having these boats on the water does not necessarily lend itself to a good revenue base for the state and also for predictable jobs."

 

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A House committee killed Baton Rouge Representative Patricia Smith’s proposal to ban bump stocks on guns. Authorities say a bump stock was used to kill more than 50 people in Las Vegas last October by allowing semi-automatic guns to shoot rapid-fire. Smith says something like that can happen here too.

 

Kyle Galotta, who opposes the bill, says the Las Vegas shooting should not mean the end of Bump Stocks.

 

NRA spokesperson Erin Luper says they oppose the state ban on bump stocks, because there is legislation pending in Washington to ban them nationwide.

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A bill to ban drivers from using their phone with their hands while on the road failed to pass the House floor after an, at times, contentious debate. The legislation by Breaux Bridge Representative Mike Huval was inspired by the traffic deaths of a constituent’s child. Huval says it’s a bill designed to save lives.

 

Huval says, "This bill is a way to try to protect the families we have back home. They deserve to have one less thing that could possibly kill them, their children, or somebody that they know."

 

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A bill allowing judges to inform juries about whether or not a victim in a car crash was wearing a seat belt died in a Senate Committee. The bill was promoted as potentially leading to smaller settlements in some cases, which would drive insurance rates down. Slidell Senator Sharon Hewitt, the bill’s sponsor, says we should trust judges to make the right call.

 

Hewitt says, "The judge should have the ability to use the information and use his judgement as to when that information will be relevant to a jury."

 

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The House Health and Welfare committee heard hours of testimony on a statewide smoking ban that would include casino’s and bars. The bill by Opelousas Democrat Dustin Miller was voluntarily yanked, so he can work on the language of the measure. If passed it would virtually ban smoking in just about every public building in the state. Wade Duty represents casinos.

 

Brent Rochon is a cardiologist who testified in favor of the measure.

 

Lobbyist Alton Ashy says this legislation will have a negative impact of video poker halls.

 

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