Racketeering redefined in bill

The state House of Representatives took a step Thursday to add a host of different crimes to the definition of racketeering.

Under House Bill 279, female genital mutilation; aggravated kidnapping of a child; human trafficking; trafficking of children for sexual purposes; bigamy; abetting in bigamy; and the sale of minor children would all fall under the definition of racketeering.

Current Louisiana law defines racketeering as committing, attempting to commit, conspiring to commit or soliciting; coercing; or intimidating another person to commit any crime.

State Rep. Cameron Henry, R-New Orleans and sponsor of HB279 said he wants people involved in human trafficking and similar crimes to understand that they could be facing increased penalties should the bill be signed into law.

HB279 passed the House on a 90-0 vote. It now heads to the Senate for further consideration.