Thursday, June 13, 2024

Several bills receive Louisiana lawmaker approval, permitless conceal carry not one of them

by BIZ Magazine

By Jenna Bridges, LSU Manship School News Service

BATON ROUGE— A bill to allow permitless concealed carry of firearms was withdrawn by a Republican lawmaker Tuesday, meaning that his efforts to push it are over this year.

House Bill 131, authored by Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, would have allowed Louisiana residents 21 and older to carry concealed firearms without a permit. Under the bill, they would not have been required to undergo any in-person or online training.

While McCormick’s bill did not make it through, several other bills received final legislative passage as lawmakers rush to finish before the session ends on Thursday.

The House agreed Tuesday to Senate amendments to House bills on limiting gender-affirming care, pronoun use in schools and classroom discussion of gender and sexuality.

All three passed with more than two-thirds support, suggesting that they could withstand a veto by Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat.

McCormick elected to voluntarily defer his permitless concealed carry bill after amendments were proposed by members of the Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee.

Sen. Gary L. Smith, D-Norco, proposed an amendment that would have required individuals engaging in permitless concealed carry to present identification to police officers when prompted.

Sen. W. Jay Luneau, R-Alexandria, proposed amendments that would have added in required training for obtaining a permit for concealed carry. Luneau’s amendments also would have required the existing safety course for concealed carry permits to be extended to 4 ½ hours from two hours and 15 minutes.

Before the amendments could be voted on, McCormick decided to defer his bill.

The committee also heard House Bill 179, which would prohibit the sale of vapes and electronic cigarettes with flavors such as candy, vanilla, cocoa or wintergreen.

The committee approved the bill unanimously. Rep. William “Bill” Wheat, Jr., R-Ponchatoula, said his bill would prevent vape companies from targeting minors with fruity flavored tobacco products.

“It’s simply asking to take the characterizing flavors out of those products,” Wheat said. While some who testified against the bill believed that it would not do enough to prevent the sale of tobacco products that target young people, Wheat believes this is a step in the right direction.

Among the bills that received final legislative passage on Tuesday was one, House Bill 182, that would prohibit COVID-19 vaccination from being required for attendance at any public or nonpublic school or college. The House gave final approval in a 76-23 vote.

Republican Rep. Clay Schexnayder’s House Bill 562, which would allow for another six years of tax breaks for motion picture production in the state, passed the House 73-21.

In the Senate, a bill that would partially reinstate the sales tax holiday for hunting supplies, authored by Sen. Stewart Cathey, Jr., R-Monroe, passed in a 35-3 vote.

The bills related to gender were among the most controversial during the session.

Republican Rep. Michael “Gabe” Firment’s bill, House Bill 648, that would prohibit healthcare professionals from administering gender-affirming care, such as hormone therapy or surgery, to anyone under 18 passed the House 75-25. 

House Bill 466, authored by Rep. Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, also passed the House with a 74-25 vote. Horton’s bill, modeled after Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law, would prohibit teachers and public-school employees from discussing gender and sexuality beyond what is outlined in state curricula.

Rep. Raymond J. Crews, R-Bossier City, authored House Bill 81, which would restrict a student’s ability to be referred to by gender affirming pronouns or by a different name by teachers and public-school employees.

Crews’ bill also passed the House with a wide margin of 73-28.

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