Two more bills in a major domestic violence reform package survived the Louisiana Senate April 1. The bills — introduced by two New Orleans Democratic House members — passed 39-0 and now head to the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure.
Senate Bill 291, by state Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, allows domestic violence survivors to be awarded punitive damages in civil lawsuits. Punitive damages currently apply only in drunk driving and statutory rape cases. Senate Bill 292 allows for an immediate divorce if a family member is physically or sexually abused or if there is an active protective order against the spouse.
On April 3, the Louisiana House overwhelmingly passed three bills from a House package introduced by state Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans. House Bill 753 prohibits a domestic violence offender from possessing a firearm while under a protective order. House Bill 747 adds "domestic abuse aggravated assault" to the Louisiana Criminal Code's crimes of violence list and makes a second conviction for domestic abuse battery a felony. House Bill 750 requires judges to expedite protective orders into the Louisiana Protective Order Registry.
Moreno's bills met no opposition and are pending approval by the state Senate.