This Week’s Legislative Preview:
This week we are likely to see several important bills be heard by the full House or Senate, and then be sent over to the opposite chamber. Once these bills get sent to a committee on the other side, we the people have another opportunity to weigh in with our presence and our testimony.
Juvenile Life Without Parole bills moving forward
The Senate has passed SB16, a bill that would make all juveniles serving Life sentences eligible for parole after 25 years served. The bill is now waiting to be heard in a House committee. On Tuesday, the House Criminal Justice Committee is scheduled to hear HB45, their own version of the JLWOP issue. It is likely they will try to reconcile any differences.
Three bills prioritizing public safety move to the House Floor
Monday May 1st: House is scheduled to debate and vote:
Alternatives to incarceration are important, but HB19 adds “up to 200 hours of Community Service” rather than making it an “in lieu of” jail time for municipal charges. Hopefully, House members will seek an amendment before sending the bill to the Senate side.
On the Senate side, bills to abolish the death penalty (SB142) and to reduce the abuse of Habitual Offender law (SB146) may be heard as early as Monday or Tuesday.
10am House Room 4: House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure will hear HB351, the proposal for a constitutional amendment that denies voters from electing someone with a criminal record.
Tuesday May 2nd: House is scheduled to debate and vote:
Two bills that will streamline flawed parts of the criminal justice system will be heard by the full chamber. Although it does not solve the anti-democracy problem of banning people under community supervision from voting, HB168 will make it easier on people wanting to vote after finishing supervision. Meanwhile, HB83 will move our criminal justice system even closer to the efficiency of a McDonald’s drive-thru. This bill allows for defendants to waive their right to appear in court, and allow for hearings to be held remotely with audio-visual technology. This bill could be amended to where a defendant requests an A/V hearing, as they themselves have determined it is more of an empty ceremony rather than a hearing of consequence, where a person needs to express their full humanity. The slippery slope is if the state seeks to expand the usage, and choosing the in-person hearing is held against a defendant.
9am House Room 6: House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice
Wednesday, May 3rd, at 9 a.m. Ban the Box rule for State Civil Service
The State Civil Service Commission will hold a public hearing on proposed Civil Service Rule 22.4.1.
Where: Louisiana Purchase Room of the Claiborne Building, 1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge.
Individuals who wish to comment on this proposal may do so at the public hearing, by writing to the Director of the Department of State Civil Service at Post Office Box 94111, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70804-9111, or by emailing the Civil Service Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adoption of the proposed rule will provide the same consideration for both unclassified and classified positions. This aligns with the growing employment movement for Fair Chance for Workers with Records. This rule will formalize a policy that was added to the Civil Service Handbook effective January 1, 2017. Proposed rule 22.4.1 would read as follows:
22.4.1 Criminal History Inquiry
"No state employer, when filling a position in the classified service, may inquire on an initial application form about a prospective employee’s felony criminal history unless it is for a position that has a legal restriction that prohibits employment due to a criminal conviction. However, during the candidate’s interview or after the candidate has been given a conditional offer of employment, the appointing authority or his or her designee may inquire about the candidate’s criminal history."
Join us at the Claiborne Building on Wednesday!