Will Louisiana Start A Trend In Support Of Police?
Lawmakers in five other states may have already tried to get similar legislation passed but Louisiana is now the first in the nation to expand its hate-crime laws to protect police, firefighters and emergency medical crews.
According to WBRZ, while state law already provides this provision for victims who have been attacked based on their race, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation or affiliation with certain organizations, the "Blue Lives Matter" bill was signed into law this week by Governor John Bel Edwards. The Amite native comes from a family of sheriffs.
Some believe this bill is unnecessary and redundant, though, like former East Baton Rouge parish attorney Terrel Kent, who told NBCBLK that he "know(s) for a fact that battery of a police officer is already covered by other laws here in Louisiana." The bill also saw opposition from civil rights groups and other activists, according to The Advocate.
Lawmakers, in contrast, have provided no vocal opposition to the bill. That was well-evidenced by the 33-3 Senate vote in favor of it. Bill author, Alexandria Representative Lance Harris, believes his bill will help stop "a concerted effort in some areas to terrorize and attack police," a statement he made to ABC News 10.
So, what does it mean to be charged with a hate crime? According to this law site, if the hate crime is a misdemeanor, "the offender may be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both." If the hate crime is a felony, "the offender may be fined not more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than five years, or both."
So, will the old W.E.B. DuBois' adage, "As the south goes, so goes the nation" apply here? Only time will tell.