New laws make changes in state

It’s time, time to make a change–these aren’t just the lyrics of a ‘90s Winans song but the way the state of Louisiana feels about the new and revised legislation that went into effect at the beginning of the year.

As a Louisianan, it is important to know the laws that citizens are expected to abide by. So here are a few of the new and revised laws that became effective Jan. 1.

New legislation says that smoking will be prohibited within 25 feet of public entrances to state office buildings. Violators of this law can be fined $25 for the first offense, then $50 and $100 for each subsequent offense.

Drunken driving
This piece of legislation seems to be more important. Its 41-page rewrite of Louisiana laws denotes the crime of driving while intoxicated. The bill clarifies confusion about statutes for DWI and DUI offenses. These changes are designed to make it easier for judges, defense attorneys and prosecutors to carry out the law when an individual is convicted.

Driver’s license
This new legislation has a two-fold impact. The first part will allow teenagers 16 years old or older to register to vote when btaining a driver’s license, although they still will not be able to vote until they reach the age of 18.
The second part allows drivers to be able to carry a state university logo, for an additional fee, if a college/university chooses to take part in the program created by Sen. F. Mills (R-Breaux Bridge).

Investigative backlog
This new legislation took effect in August but the requested information had to have been provided by Jan. 1. The legislation states that law enforcement agencies must tally and report the number of untested rape kits within their possession, and those numbers must be reported to the Louisiana State Police crime lab.

“The sooner we can collect this data, the sooner we can fix the problem and work to find justice for hundreds of rape victims,” bill sponsor Sen. J.P. Morrell (D-New Orleans) said in a statement.

For more information concerning these and other laws, visit