Starting from January 1, 2024, Louisiana will have several new laws that will affect various aspects of life in the state. Some of the new laws are related to health care, voting, child protection, taxation, and more. Here are some of the highlights of the new laws that will take effect in the new year.
Medical Marijuana Expansion
One of the most significant changes in the state’s health care system is the expansion of the medical marijuana program. Under the new law, patients with a doctor’s recommendation will be able to purchase and use raw, smokable cannabis from dispensaries. Previously, only processed products such as oils, tinctures, and gummies were allowed. The new law will allow patients to buy up to two-and-a-half ounces of cannabis flower every two weeks. This is expected to lower the cost and increase the accessibility of medical marijuana for patients who prefer the raw form of the drug. Louisiana has been rapidly expanding its medical marijuana program since 2015, when it was legalized for therapeutic use. The state has also allowed any doctor to prescribe medical marijuana, instead of limiting it to a few specialists.
Another area that will see some changes is the voting system. The state has passed several new laws that will affect how people vote and how elections are conducted. Some of the new laws are:
- Act 12 and Act 16: These acts require parish elections supervisors and new registrars of voters to undergo training and certification by the Secretary of State’s office.
- Act 397: This act allows children up to the age of 18 to accompany their parents into the voting booth. Previously, only children under 13 were allowed.
- Act 364: This act authorizes the Secretary of State’s office to search obituaries and other sources to identify and remove deceased persons from the voter rolls.
- Act 13: This act regulates the conduct of exit polling outside voting locations and prohibits them from being within 600 feet of the entrance to the polling place.
- Act 22: This act extends the maximum amount of time a person may spend in the voting booth from three minutes to six and allows poll workers to provide more time if there are lengthy constitutional amendments or propositions on the ballot.
These new laws are mostly minor additions to the state’s election laws, unlike some of the voting restrictions passed in other states.
The state has also passed some new laws that aim to protect children from harm and exploitation. Some of the new laws are:
- Act 440: This act allows for commercial entities to be held liable for publishing or distributing material harmful to minors on the internet. It also requires providers to ensure reasonable age verification on websites that contain such material.
- Act 648: This act prohibits certain procedures to alter the sex of a minor child, such as hormone therapy or surgery. The act also prohibits doctors from providing gender-affirming care to transgender minors, unless it is necessary to treat a physical condition.
- Act 337: This act eliminates the minimum child support award in the child support guidelines and allows judges to determine the amount of child support based on the best interest of the child.
These new laws are intended to safeguard the physical and mental well-being of children in the state.
Taxation and Insurance
The state has also enacted some new laws that will affect the taxation and insurance policies in the state. Some of the new laws are:
- Act 279: This act requires the Louisiana Tax Commission to convey the ad valorem tax assessment information it receives from local assessors to the Department of Revenue electronically, instead of by mail. This is expected to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the tax collection process.
- Act 398: This act requires persons being transported offshore by aircraft to wear life jackets equipped with personal locator beacons. This is a safety measure to help locate and rescue people in case of an emergency.
- Act 447: This act requires agency referrals of delinquent debt to the office of debt recovery for collection to include certain information, such as the name, address, and social security number of the debtor. This is expected to enhance the effectiveness of the debt recovery process.
- Act 579: This act provides relative to pet insurance and requires insurers to disclose the terms and conditions of the coverage, such as the exclusions, limitations, and deductibles. This is intended to protect consumers from misleading or fraudulent practices by pet insurance providers.
- Act 411: This act expands the types of investments eligible for the insurance premium tax credit, such as bonds, stocks, and mutual funds. This is expected to encourage more investment and economic development in the state.
These new laws are expected to have an impact on the financial and insurance sectors in the state.
Other New Laws
In addition to the above-mentioned laws, there are some other new laws that will take effect in the new year. Some of them are:
- Act 186: This act provides for health insurance coverage for standard fertility preservation services, such as egg or sperm freezing, for patients who are diagnosed with cancer or other conditions that may impair their fertility.
- Act 66: This act provides relative to telehealth services and requires health care providers to obtain informed consent from patients before providing telehealth services. It also requires health insurance plans to cover telehealth services at the same rate as in-person services.
- Act 558: This act provides for the collection and remittance of state and local sales and use taxes by remote sellers and marketplace facilitators, such as online platforms that facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers. This is expected to increase the tax revenue for the state and local governments.
- Act 631: This act provides with respect to the sourcing of sales for purposes of calculating Louisiana income and requires remote sellers and marketplace facilitators to source their sales to the location where the product is delivered or the service is performed. This is expected to ensure a fair and uniform taxation of sales in the state.
These new laws are expected to affect various aspects of life in the state.