Gov. Edwards signs bills on law enforcement benefits, gun possession

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Despite recent tensions at the Louisiana State Capitol, state lawmakers have managed to pass hundreds of bills this year. They include those regarding the roles law enforcement officers play, and how the state should help them in tragedy. Now with signatures from Gov. John Bel Edwards, these measures are becoming law.

Law enforcement personnel intentionally hurt on duty will have post-retirement insurance premiums, deductibles and co-pays taken care of. It’s the result of a bill from Rep. Dale Erdey (R-Livington), who said he was inspired by Nick Tullier, the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputy hurt in a fatal ambush in July 2016.

“The state’s going to be there for him as long as he’s permanently disabled as a result of this terrible incident,” Erdey said. “The state will continue to be there for him.”

New state law will also compensate law enforcement families, namely relatives of federal officers killed on duty in Louisiana. They’ll get $250,000 from the state, just as families of state and local officers already do.

“I find it a time when we should reflect on what our law enforcement officers mean to this country, and in the service of this country,” said retired Agent Kevin Harrison with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Another new law will let concealed carry owners possess their weapons up to the property lines of schools across Louisiana. The initial bill was created in the wake of February’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“When you call the police, they’re very well-trained, but statistics show they don’t show up between 10 and 15 minutes later,” said Rep. Blake Miguez (R-Erath), who sponsored the bill signed by the governor. “They’re here to arrest the bad guy and enforce the law, but who provides defense?”

Miguez’s bill was initially meant to let permit-holders bring their weapons inside school grounds, but was amended in the Senate. The Erath Republican has not indicated whether he will give that part of his proposal another try next year.

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