SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Crimes like catalytic converter thefts and carjackings have garnered widespread attention throughout the state. The Louisiana Legislature addressed this with new or expanded laws that will go into effect on Aug 1.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards enacted 776 laws at the close of the 2022 Legislative Session.
Catalytic converter thefts have climbed nationwide since the pandemic. The Shreveport-Bossier area has seen its fair share in 2022. The theft of the highly profitable auto part grew so much that law enforcement agencies and lawmakers had to take action.
Act 127 makes stealing a catalytic converter a crime in itself. In addition to making those thefts a specific crime, the law also requires that catalytic converters have a registration number to track sales and transfers.
Carjacking, another crime on the rise in this area, would have increased penalties when committed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry launched an initiative in early summer informing victims of domestic violence of protections and resources available through the AG’s office. Landry got a legislative win with the signing of Act 75, which enhances the penalty for anyone found to violate a protective order while possessing a firearm.
The legislature reclassified the crime of a felon in possession of a firearm to a crime of violence. This would apply to persons with a previous conviction for a violent crime.
The safety of hospital emergency room personnel and other healthcare professionals has increasingly been a topic. Act 127 will provide enhanced penalties, including fines and jail time for anyone charged with battery within the healthcare facility.
The session addressed hate crimes by adding menacing (terrorizing) as a crime with the addition of menacing (terrorizing) as a crime. Menacing acts include (but are not limited to) imminent or in progress threats of violence, sustained public safety fear, and a threat that causes a building evacuation.
They expanded the definition of simple robbery to include taking goods from another without a weapon. It also includes when three or more persons take large quantities of merchandise from retailers or other business entities.
- Act 75 – Enhances penalties for violation of a protective order when committed while possessing a firearm.
- Act 465 – Designates the crime of possessing a firearm by a felon as a crime of violence.
- Act 127 – Creates the crime of theft of a catalytic converter or engine control module and provides for dealer registration.
- Act 129 – Enhances penalties for those charged with battery of emergency room personnel, emergency services personnel, and healthcare professionals.
- Act 131 – Increases the penalty for the crime of carjacking when committed with a firearm or other dangerous weapon.
- Act 493 – Creates the crime of menacing relative to hate crimes.
- Act 731– Amends the definition of simple robbery.