Louisiana State Laws graphic

BATON ROUGE — People must be at least 16 years old to marry in Louisiana, medical marijuana patients can inhale cannabis and women seeking medication abortions face new restrictions, as more than 260 new state laws take effect Thursday.

Parents who scuffle with referees at children's sport events face up to 90 days in jail and mandatory counseling if convicted of the new crime of harassment of a school or recreation athletic contest official.

Animal shelters can't take in stray or unwanted animals solely to euthanize them for research facilities or sell animals for research or experimentation.

Louisiana agencies can't deny or revoke an occupational license when someone falls behind on student loan repayments.

Lawmakers passed the measures in the regular legislative session that ended in June. If legislators don't specify a start date, new laws begin each August.

Minimum marriage age

Until now, Louisiana had no minimum age for marrying, although people under 18 needed parental consent and those under 16 needed judicial permission. But lawmakers agreed in the final hour of the session to set an age floor, amid arguments that could help protect teenagers from sexual predators.

With the change, people under 16 cannot get married at all in Louisiana, and anyone 16 or 17 can't marry someone three years or more older. Those 16- and 17-year-olds who want to marry will need permission from parents and a judge.

Abortion

Access to abortions done via medication is shrinking around the state. Medication abortions, administered through pills that induce miscarriage at early stages of pregnancy, must be performed at Louisiana's three licensed abortion clinics in New Orleans, Shreveport and Baton Rouge, not in a gynecologist's office.

The law is among several new abortion restrictions passed by lawmakers. Also starting Thursday, any abortion clinic employee who believes a woman seeking the procedure is a victim of human trafficking, rape or incest must report that to law enforcement immediately and must get annual training on human trafficking prevention.

Child safety seats

Louisiana has a toughened child safety seat law that requires children to stay in child restraint systems longer and includes more details about which children must be in car seats, booster seats and the vehicle's back seat.

The restrictions are based on height, weight and age. The Louisiana State Police has released a Facebook video for parents, informing them about the new law's requirements.

Hazing

Anti-hazing laws are toughening, in continuing response to the 2017 alcohol-related death of Louisiana State University fraternity pledge Maxwell Gruver in what officials described as a hazing ritual.

The latest provisions seek to force colleges that receive hazing allegations to report those claims quickly — and in detail with names of alleged participants — to law enforcement or face a fine of up to $10,000. College police officers get more power to respond to hazing allegations. And colleges have to document the actions taken after hazing allegations are reported.

Other laws

• When medical marijuana becomes available in Louisiana, expected to be later this month , patients will be able to use an inhaler like asthma patients use, in addition to the oils, pills, liquids and topical applications already allowed.

• Louisiana state employees can no longer reach taxpayer-financed settlements for sexual harassment claims that include nondisclosure clauses barring a victim from talking about the allegations.

• State law authorizing judges to order chemical castration for certain convicted sex offenders now applies to sexual battery convictions when the victim is under 13 years old.

• And certain information about alligator farming and breeding is newly exempt from public records law.

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