Governor Bobby Jindal signed four Governor's Package Bills into law, including HB 86 by Rep. White, which enhances the penalties for sexually abusing a person with a physical or mental disability or a person over the age of 65; HB 49 by Rep. Leger, which expands the human trafficking statutes; HB 94 by Rep. Katz, which transfers the Missing and Exploited Children Information Clearinghouse from DCFS to the Office of State Police; and HB 131 by Rep. Templet, which ensures sex offenders do not circumvent their registration requirements.
Governor Jindal said, "These bills work to protect our most vulnerable citizens from those who prey on them. The safety of Louisiana communities is a top priority and we'll continue to pass laws to punish these monsters while providing the resources needed to keep our children safe -- especially from the quickly growing crime of human trafficking."
HB 86 by Rep. White equalizes the penalties for sexually abusing people over the age of 65 and people with a physical or mental disability with the penalties for those who sexually abuse children under the age of 13. Currently, when a person is convicted of sexual battery or sexual battery of the infirm they can only receive a sentence of up to 10 years. However, when a person is convicted of sexual battery and the victim is under the age of 13, the minimum sentence is 25 years and thereafter the person is electronically monitored for life.
HB 49 by Rep. Leger expands the type of actions that can be prosecuted for this rapidly growing crime. Currently, human trafficking statutes criminalize the actions of the human trafficker, but they do not address a person who knowingly facilitates the crime. This makes it so that a person who knowingly aides or abets (for example, by facilitating or placing online ads) those who directly engage in human traffickers will face equal penalties in the law for human trafficking.
This legislation will also add to existing law the action of maintaining a person for the purposes of labor, services or commercial sexual activity. And in regard to the statute covering the trafficking of children for sexual purposes, this legislation will prohibit a person from "advertising" any of the activities prohibited by law.
HB 94 by Rep. Katz transfers the Missing and Exploited Children Information Clearinghouse from DCFS to the Office of State Police. This bill will provide real-time, twenty-four hour, seven days a week, coordination between the National Crime Information Center and the Missing and Exploited Children Information database. This means law enforcement will have instant access to national resources to locate, rescue and assist child crime victims.
HB 131 by Rep. Templet makes it a violation of a sex offender's registration requirements if they fail to get a driver's license or ID card with "sex offender" labeled on it as required by current law, or possess counterfeit identification. The penalty for a first conviction will be a fine of up to $1,000 and a sentence of two-10 years in prison.