NewsCovering Louisiana


New laws take effect on Monday

Louisiana State Capitol
Posted at 2:18 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-30 12:36:18-04

Most of the laws passed during this year's regular legislative session take effect on Monday.

There were laws passed that address marijuana, sexual assault, hair styles and speeding. To see a list of bills signed into law, vetoed or allowed to become law without signature click here. If you click on the act's number, the page for the bill will pop up and you can see its process and read the full law for yourself.

The law that many folks are talking about in Acadiana - which aims to curb speeding on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge using cameras - takes effect on Monday but that doesn't mean the cameras will be up.

Act 426 provides for doubled fines for motorists who speed on the bridge, signage and installation of cameras. DOTD is in charge of deciding how and where to place the cameras, when they'll be in use and who will monitor them - DOTD or a contractor.

Earlier this month, DOTD told us there's not even a timeline yet to install the cameras that will be used to check speed, since there's a lot of work to be done before they're installed. Read about that here.

As for hairstyles, the legislature passed, and the governor signed, Louisiana's Crown Act, which prevents discrimination in hiring or housing and at school based on the way a person's hair grows or is styled. At least a dozen other states have similar laws.

Act 529 specifically outlaws discrimination based on any "natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle," which is defined as including but not limited to "afros, dreadlocks, twists, locs, braids, cornrow braids, Bantu knots, curls, and hair styled to protect hair texture or for cultural significance."

Several laws were passed that changed the way sexual assault cases and victims are handled.

Act 140 allows victims, family members and survivors of deceased victims to register with the court for required notification of judicial proceedings, escape, probation or parole hearings and/or the release of an offender. The law lays out the details of when and how these registered people are notified of events.

Act 513 requires all health care providers to provide information about emergency contraception, and offer it to those who have a negative pregnancy test, to any person who is seeking treatment for any sex-related crime.

Act 540 requires medical providers who conduct forensic examinations of sex crime victims to provide their report to the victim, at no cost, within a certain period of time. This law makes it clear that the victim is not waiving any rights to privacy by getting a copy of the report, and their obtaining the report doesn't make it public record.

Act 568 requires the notification of people who register for it - including victims, family of victims, law enforcement and prosecutors - of the impending release of a sex offender. The notification has to be made at least 60 days prior to the planned date of release.

On the marijuana side, several bills passed that affect medical marijuana rules and criminal marijuana laws.

Act 473 doesn't allow police to conduct a search of someone's home based simply on the smell of marijuana alone.

Act 478 makes it illegal to smoke or vape marijuana while driving; it's not a moving violation, though, and won't show up on a driver's record.

Act 491 Makes some procedural changes to the way medical marijuana is handled in Louisiana. It adds the Louisiana Department of Health as a permitting agency, and makes changes to the way dispensaries are licensed. For instance, dispensaries can open up to two satellite locations based on the number of patients they have; dispensaries must offer delivery at least once a month; and in addition to LSU and Southern, the University of Louisiana at Monroe is authorized to conduct research on medical marijuana. The bill also lays out several pages of details for the licensing of contractors to grow pot and how their facilities should be maintained and inspected.

Act 492 is more housekeeping for the state-level processes for medical marijuana licensing, removing the Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the state Board of Medical Examiners, and allocating that work to the LDH and the Board of Pharmacy.

Act 651 prohibits any negative consequences for state employees who have marijuana prescriptions and fail drug tests at work. It doesn't apply, however, to workers who are using pot or impaired by pot during work hours, or whose main responsibility is operating a state vehicle. Employees who are working in emergency medical services, law enforcement, public safety officials, any state employee of the horse racing commission, and firefighter services.