Capitol Views: Hazing legislation passes

    The House of Representatives approved legislation this morning which would change the guidelines around reporting and investigating incidents of hazing. House Bill 443 by Rep. Nancy Landry, R-Lafayette, would revise the state’s current hazing statute, which she authored in 2018 after the hazing-related death of LSU Phi Delta Theta freshman Maxwell Gruver.

    Landry’s bill would shorten the amount of time allowed for an organization to report hazing allegations to law enforcement. Under existing law, organizations have 14 days to conduct an investigation and present its findings to authorities. Landry’s measure requires all incident examinations to occur as soon as possible.

    State Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, who handled the legislation in the upper chamber, said the current statute has allowed “some of the organizations essentially a whole lot of time to get their stories straight.” Speaking to colleagues on the Senate floor, he noted Landry’s bill would “shorten the window for the organizations to get their story in order to where the police can immediately begin investigating.”

    The measure would also require organizations to provide a full report to law enforcement without any redactions. In addition, the bill also authorizes campus police departments to investigate potential hazing incidents even if they occurred in off-campus locations, empowering campus police officers to carry concealed weapons and make arrests.

    “As a member of a fraternity, I totally understand the significance of fraternities, but I do not support the hazing and the levels that it’s reached,” said Sen. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans. “Because some silliness in going through fraternity life is acceptable, but certainly there’s no situation that’s acceptable where a person is put in harm’s way.”

    The House voted 90 to 0 in favor of Landry’s bill, which the Senate also passed unanimously. It now heads to Gov. John Bel Edwards for approval.

    Jeremy Alford will publish Capitol Views each afternoon on Daily Report PM through the end of the legislative session. The report is also available to subscribers at LaPolitics.com.

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