House votes to repeal ‘drug traffic loitering’ law

Louisiana House members voted Monday to repeal a law that allowed law enforcement officers to charge people with “drug traffic loitering.”

The law gives law enforcement significant leeway to charge people with crimes for “behaving in such a manner as to raise a reasonable suspicion” that a person is “about to engage in or is engaging in unlawful drug-related activity.”

A drug traffic loitering charge can cost an offender a fine of up to $1,000, or a six month prison sentence, or 120 hours of community service or any combination of all three.

House Bill 461, sponsored by state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, would repeal the existing law.

The bill passed on a vote of 90-3. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.