Hundreds of New State Laws Kick in on Friday

BATON ROUGE (KTVE/KARD and AP) -- 551 new laws go into effect in Louisiana starting Friday.

A look at some of the changes on the books:

ABORTION: People who work for abortion providers are prohibited from distributing health information at Louisiana's public schools.

RIGHT TO TRY: Terminally-ill patients in Louisiana, with permission from their doctors, can use experimental drugs or treatments that haven't been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Insurers aren't required to cover the treatment.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Domestic abuse is now one of the grounds for immediate divorce in Louisiana. Abusers under a protective order are banned from possessing a firearm and those convicted of domestic abuse battery are prohibited from possessing a gun for a decade.

These are laws that community advocates for the Domestic Abuse Resistance Team in Ruston praise.

"When they tell us a story and we contact law enforcement, not only will they be listening but the law will be behind us," said D.A.R.T. Community Advocate Terrie Queen Autrey in a previous interview.

DRIVING LAWS: Drivers who use handheld cell phones in school zones will face fines, if the school district has posted a sign saying such use is prohibited. 

"You can see someone is on the phone in a school zone, then you're going to get a ticket for it. Obviously, with kids, it's a heightened area for safety," said Trooper Albert Paxton with Louisiana State Police Troop F.

First violation of the school zone ban is a fine of $175. Subsequent violations can be up to $500.

Th exclusions to the ban are for hands-free devices, emergency calls and calls made while parked in a school zone.

Single-axle, two-wheeled trailers and boat trailers no longer require state inspections. Vehicle inspection stations can conduct their inspections in the rain.

Harsher punishments are coming for those who cause fatalities while driving if they're fatigued or drunk.

"When it's over 0.20, it's now going to be considered as an act of violence, a crime of violence. It's going to mean that the penalties can be more severe," said Paxton.

CIGARETTE LITTERING: Flicking a cigarette butt out of your car window can get you slapped with a hefty fine and community service. A first offense carries a $300 fine and eight hours of community service in a litter cleanup program.

REFEREE ATTACKS: Parents convicted of battery of a school or recreation contest official face toughened penalties, a minimum sentence of five days in jail and at least 10 days if the referee receives a serious bodily injury.

HOME BAKERS: Home-based bakers who sell to the public are exempt from sanitation rules that require commercial grade equipment. The exemption applies to home-based food makers who prepare baked goods, candies, honey, jams and jellies, pickles, sauces, syrups and spices, if their gross annual sales are less than $20,000.

DRONES: People are prohibited from flying drones over petroleum and alumina refineries, chemical and rubber plants and nuclear power plants without property owner consent.

COCKFIGHTING BAN: Louisiana's ban on cockfighting now mirrors laws that prohibit dogfighting in the state. The measure increased penalties for cockfighting convictions and criminalized the possession, manufacturing and selling of paraphernalia used to fight chickens.

ACCOUNT PRIVACY: Employers, public schools and colleges in Louisiana are prohibited from demanding access to personal email, social media and other types of online accounts.

TANNING BAN: Anyone under 18 in Louisiana is prohibited from using tanning beds.

Minors will also be required to show a prescription when acquiring certain over-the counter cough medicines that contain ingredients that some teens have used to get high off of in the past.

TEACHER GIFTS: Public school teachers can accept small gifts from their students, no more than $25 at a time, capped at $75 per year from one person.

Click here to find all of the laws and amendments passed during the 2014 Louisiana Legislative Session.

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