It was a bad day to between the ages of 18 and 20 at the Capitol today, especially if you’re a gun enthusiast and feeling eager to imbibe in alcohol. That’s because senators advanced one bill that would raise the legal age to 21 for Louisiana citizens to purchase “assault weapons,” and then stalled another that would have dropped the legal age to buy alcohol to 19, with a few caveats.

Conducted by two of the Senate’s judiciary committees, the hearings were highly anticipated, due to both bills being heavily covered by reporters statewide. In an ongoing regular session defined largely by looming budget problems, the bills contain a pair of rare issues that had, as of this morning, captured the attention of voters and opinion writers.

The Judiciary C Committee approved by a 4-3 vote the proposal to hike the legal age for purchasing assault weapons, which is defined in SB 274. The bill’s author, Sen. Troy Carter, said he was inspired to pursue a new public policy in light of recent mass shootings. “If we save one life, two lives, three lives,” Carter said, “it’ll be worth it.”

Law enforcement officials and special interests like the Louisiana Conference of Bishops spoke in favor of the bill. Predictably, outfits like the National Rifle Association opposed the proposal. So did Dan Zelenka, the president of the Louisiana Shooting Association, who said young people don’t deserve to be included in a special exclusion that could end up in state law. “They have the right to vote,” Zelenka said. “They have a right to marry.”

Carter’s SB 274 now heads to the full Senate for further consideration. Not joining it on that legislative journey will be SB 429 by Sen. Eric LaFleur, which would have altered the age at which Louisiana residents could buy alcohol. LaFleur’s bill would have allowed 19- and 20-year-olds to purchase booze as long as they obtained an “alcohol consumption certificate,” which is presented to anyone who completes an annual class. Minors would have also been required to obtain parental approval.

Addressing the Judiciary B Committee, LaFleur told his colleagues that he was withdrawing the bill from consideration for the regular session. While LaFleur said the proposal would have brought underage drinkers “out of the shadows,” concerns have been mounting about Louisiana losing federal dollars if the age change were enacted.

#LA: Data Security and Craft Brewing with Cary Koch

  Episode 4 of the Hashtag Louisiana podcast has it all - geniuses, politicians, lobbyists and all us regular folks trying to keep our

WEEKLY: They Said It

“If we as legislators ever had a place to print money, it’s in capital outlay.” —Ways and Means Vice Chair Jim Morris, in The Advocate  

WEEKLY: Constitutional Coalition Has Partners

It was reported in the March 22 issue of LaPolitics Weekly that businessman and donor Lane Grigsby was forming Constitutional Coalition 2020

WEEKLY: Constitutional Convention Poll & CABL

The LaPolitics office at the Capitol received an unidentified robo poll that focused largely on the need to hold a constitutional convention

LOWDOWN: Julie Emerson On The Meaning Of Place

This episode of The LaPolitics Lowdown continues with a four-part series we produced with Covalent Logic and the Public Affairs Research

SPONSORED: Festival International 2018 Is Here

  Next week is the start of the largest international music and arts festival in the United States: Festival


— Tuesday 04/17: Shelly Dupre — Wednesday 04/18: Rep. Sam Jones, Rep. Jerome “Nature Boy” Zeringue, former Rep. Roy Burrell, Carl Redman

GAMARD’S BELTWAY BEAT: From Raids & Airstrikes To Sanctions & ‘Slimeballs’

Former FBI Director James Comey’s reemergence may accrue the same headline-making exposure he achieved last summer. This time around he’s


— Constitutional Coalition 2020 has a website. ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND INFO — Former Chesapeake executive Paul Pratt has launched a new

ALFORD’S OPINION COLUMN: Cracking The Congressional Code

Louisiana voters will send six representatives to Congress during the November general elections and, if needed, the December runoffs. Those

RABALAIS’ POLITICAL HISTORY: Steve, JBJ & The Lanes To Leadership

Long before U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was thrust into the developing race for speaker, and prior to subsequently endorsing his

PLACE YOUR BETS! Handicapping HB 1 & Adjournment

Running The Numbers Since this regular session feels like a gamble anyway, and since there has been an avalanche of gaming bills

They Said It: Lucky Dogs & Ric Flair

"Do you make Lucky Dogs out of swine?" —Rep. Greg Cromer, to Rep. Kirk Talbot, who co-owns the company with his family and who was

WEEKLY: GOP Chair Targets Agency Heads

The last bill that House GOP Delegation Chair Lance Harris filed for the regular session seeks to add "new layers of transparency" to the

WEEKLY: Higgins Has Money, And A Posse

Congressman Clay Higgins has more than $211,000 in his campaign kitty after the first quarter of 2018, during which he collected $217,000 in

LOWDOWN: Ted James On Failure, Assumptions & Compassion

This episode of The LaPolitics Lowdown kicks off a four-part series we produced with Covalent Logic and the Public Affairs Research

SPONSORED: Building Homes And Providing Hope

  On Thursday, April 26, the annual Village of Hope Gala will to be held at Le Pavillon in Lafayette and includes a four-course

Election Trend: Voters Hate Tax Referendums  

Many political observers were surprised to see the defeat of several routine tax measures on the March 24 ballots, leaving some to wonder if

Round Two For Cromer-Davis

As preparations begin for the April 28 runoffs, the mayoral race in Slidell is already drawing more attention than the usual municipal

They Said It – March 29

“It worked for Bo Derek. She was a 10.” —Commerce Chair Thomas Carmody, on legislation to deregulate hair braiding "If someone hasn't

Four-Part Lowdown Series Begins Thursday

We’re moving the release of The LaPolitics Lowdown video to Thursdays for the next four weeks, as a standing feature in LaPolitics Weekly.

Rabalais’ Political History: Don’t Be A Sucker, Wear Seersucker

With the passage of the Easter holiday, seersucker suits and skirts and shorts are again making their routine appearances in the marbled

WEEKLY: Convention Coalition Details Released, Rebuild versus TIP

  Two big stories have developed over the past 24 hours that are connected to issues subscribers to LaPolitics Weekly have been

Political Chatter: Medicaid, McAuliffe, Gambit

— Sen. Karen Carter Peterson made it office yesterday. Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 True

ALFORD: Something’s Up With The Senate

On April 12, 2016, Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a press release with this headline: “Senate Approves the Louisiana Equal Pay Act.” Almost