Legislation in response to Madison Brooks death fails to get House Judiciary approval

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Legislation in response to the death of 19-year-old LSU student Madison Brooks fails to get out of the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate-approved bill would hold bars liable if an underage person consumes alcohol at their establishment and then injures themselves or others. Shreveport Representative Alan Seabaugh voted against the measure because it protects a person who breaks the law.

“The minor who knew they did something wrong, has a drink, leaves, either injures themself or injures somebody else and they are not responsible, but the bar owner is, who didn’t know he was doing nothing wrong, I have a real problem with that,” said Seabaugh.

In January, Brooks consumed several drinks at a Tigerland bar near LSU’s campus. After leaving the establishment, she was allegedly raped inside a vehicle and then killed while crossing a road in the middle of the night. Her mother, Ashley Baustert, pleaded with the committee to pass this bill.

“There are way too many underage students, who like Madi, can drink and serve, under the current laws, too many businesses are turning a blind eye and profiting with the current laws and penalties that we have in place,” said Baustert.

Seabaugh and other lawmakers who voted against the legislation had compassion for Brooks’ family, but they did not want to pass a law that protects an individual who breaks the law by purchasing drinks when under the age of 21.

“You’re protecting the bad actor that’s a part that I have problem with, there’s got to be a way to fix this and that’s not it,” said Seabaugh.

The vote in House Judiciary was 6 to 6, so the panel could still take up the measure again. But with less than two weeks left in the session, it doesn’t look like this legislation will reach the governor’s desk for his signature.

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