After a long and tough 85 days, the 2022 Louisiana Legislative Session wrapped last month. While some bills passed threaten civil liberties, we are excited about the passage of bills that will help protect the rights of Louisianans, including two new laws that will advance police accountability throughout the state.
Here's a brief overview of some of the work the ACLU of Louisiana completed during this year's session:
- We are incredibly proud of our team and their hard work at the Louisiana State Capitol to pass HB 745! This big win strengthens protections for police whistleblowers who expose misconduct and racism within their agencies. In Louisiana, we've seen a number of officers face retaliation when attempting to report misconduct. HB 745 will change that, expanding protection for police whistleblowers and ideally encouraging more people to reveal evidence of wrongdoing within our state's corrupt police departments.
- We also supported a new law that will prevent rogue officers from being hired by other police departments. SB 182, sponsored by Senator Cleo Fields, will change a provision in state law regarding the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification that law enforcement agencies require most officers to hold and when such certification should be revoked.
EQUAL RIGHTS FOR OUR CHILDREN
- With the tremendous support and activism of queer and trans students and educators from across Louisiana, we successfully defeated Louisiana's "Don't Say Gay" bill, HB 837, in committee. Though the House of Representatives used a special motion to override standard legislative procedure, the session ended before they could hear the bill. #SayGayAnyway
- Louisiana made national news when the #LALege passed SB 44, a bill that bans trans girls from playing sports that match their gender. SB 44 is cruel legislation that targets trans kids, further paving the way for bullying and discrimination. We called on Governor John Bel Edwards to veto this bill and stand up for Louisiana's vulnerable youth, but he did not respond to this call, and the bill was officially passed into law.
- Even as we awaited the Supreme Court's decision regarding Roe v. Wade, Louisiana lawmakers were busy trying to implement bans and further restrictions on abortion in our state. Abortion access is vital to healthy communities, and prohibition means forced pregnancy:
- One of the most troubling bills we saw this session, HB 813, would have subjected any person who has an abortion to murder charges. This barbaric bill was defeated.
- Governor Edwards signed SB 342 into law at the end of June, amending Louisiana's "trigger law," which outlawed abortion in the state immediately after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. The bill heightens criminal penalties on doctors who perform abortions to up to 15 years in prison and includes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
- SB 388, which also passed, makes distributing abortion medication to people in Louisiana, including by mail-order from out of state, a crime. The bill imposes up to six months in prison for "dispensing or distributing" abortion medication.
ENDING DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES
- HB 1083, also known as the CROWN Act, passed this session. This is a big win for Louisianans and means that students and workers are now protected from discrimination based on "skin color, facial characteristics, hair texture, natural hairstyles, and protective hairstyles."
- A number of bills also passed to help advance marijuana law reform, including HB 629, which prohibits warrantless searches of homes based on the odor of marijuana; HB 775, which legalizes marijuana paraphernalia for medical marijuana patients; and HB 988, which provides employment protections for public employees who are medical marijuana patients.
This was a rough and tough legislative session filled with many victories and a few setbacks. We want to thank all of you, our committed supporters. You helped make the wins possible by sharing in our fight for liberty. We appreciate all who testified, protested, donated, and joined in solidarity with the continued fight for civil rights.