House panel sets heroin penalties

The House criminal justice committee rewrote, then approved, a measure that would increase the penalties for heroin distribution or intent to distribute.

As passed by the state Senate, Senate Bill 87 by Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, would have made the prison sentence anywhere from five to 99 years, a change from the current sentence of five to 50 years.

But state Rep. Sherman Mack, R-Livingston, suggested the minimum sentence should be raised to 10 years. Rep. Helena Moreno, D-New Orleans, sought to drop the maximum back down to its original 50 years.

The committee approved those changes Tuesday, then voted 9-3 for the bill. It moves next to the full House for debate.