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DWI, sentencing, constitutional carry bills await governor’s decision

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(The Center Square) – Bills that would change the state’s sentencing guidelines, allow concealed carry without a permit, and increase transparency for criminal records and change the way juvenile offenders are housed await decisions from Louisiana Gov Jeff Landry.

Lawmakers wrapped up a special session on crime last week and begin the regular session next Monday.

“Today, the good citizens of Louisiana who work hard and play by the rules will be able to pump their gas without fear,” Landry wrote on X, the social media said formerly known as Twitter. “I appreciate the legislators who worked hard to pass these bills, as well as the victims of crime who had the courage to share their stories.”

Senate Bill 1, if signed into law by Landry, would give residents the ability to carry firearms concealed without a permit, known as constitutional carry. According to the U.S. Concealed Carry Association, there are 27 states with constitutional carry.

Lawmakers also passed bills that would increase the penalties for driving under the influence; end the requirement that 17-year-old offenders be housed in a juvenile detention facility; add nitrogen hypoxia and electrocution to the state’s methods of capital punishment; increase the mandatory sentence for carjacking; and provide more transparency for criminal records.

“The House accomplished the mission of addressing crime in our state so Louisiana can be a safe and peaceful place to live, raise our families and enjoy all of things that make it great,” House Speaker Phillip DeVillier, R-New Iberia, wrote on X.

Lawmakers also appropriated $26 million for law enforcement purposes, including $9.2 million for increased traffic enforcement; $3.2 million for a pay increase for State Police; $3 million for the Louisiana National Guard’s participation in Operation Lonestar on the Texas/Mexico border; and $2.74 million for overtime costs for law enforcement officers.

“Senators worked together to not only debate the measures brought to us during this crime session, but also discuss the potential impacts to the state’s budget,” said Senate President Cameron Henry, R-Metairie, in a news release. “Supporting law enforcement and providing justice to the victims of crime were promises many of us made to our constituents.

“With this special session complete, we’ll be working hard to get ready for the regular session and handling issues that can jumpstart our economy and improve lives.”

More than 325 bills are already filed for the session. Lawmakers could take up a bill that would create a state public defender office and remove the oversight of the Louisiana Public Defender Board. In amended form, it passed both chambers, but it has yet to make it to the governor’s desk.