Bill giving cops power to command you “Stay Back” wins Final Passage. Will go the Governor’s desk

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A House bill giving police the ability to tell you “stay back” while they do their job wins final legislative passage in the state Senate. Pineville Rep. Mike Johnson’s bill was represented on the Senate floor by Natchitoches Senator Louie Bernard, who says the bill just seeks to assist law enforcement officers in carrying out their duties…:

“All we’re seeking in this bill is a zone of safety. If you’re arresting somebody or whatever, you need to have people stand back.”

HB 85 would establish that, if a cop tells you to stay back, you must comply and maintain at least 25-feet distance or face fines. Among those opposed was Democrat Senator Royce Duplessis, of New Orleans, who says the bill is potentially unconstitutional, because of the question of distance. He says it is also already addressed in state law…:

“We currently have a law on the books; Revised Statute title 14:329. Interfering with a law enforcement investigation.”

Bernard says the statute Duplessis cites applies to Obstruction of Justice, and doesn’t apply in everyday police work. Bernard asks Senators for their vote for the bill, as a way to avoid misunderstandings between citizens and LEOs that can sometimes get out of hand…:

“This hopes to stop something like that from happening by saying ‘hey…I’m a law enforcement officer. Please give me room to do my job. Please back up.”

The measure passed by a 29-10 vote. It goes now to Governor John Bel Edwards for his signature…or veto.

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