Louisiana sentencing law changes near final passage


BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Three of the most significant portions of Gov. John Bel Edwards' plan to overhaul the state's criminal justice system are edging closer to becoming law after passing their most difficult test of the session.

The House on Monday advanced three Senate-backed bills to expand probation and parole opportunities and shrink sentences for some offenders, mainly those jailed for non-violent crimes. The amended bills move back to the Senate for approval before they can go to the governor's desk.

Sen. Danny Martiny's measure, which passed 74-31, was met with the most opposition, as it expands parole eligibility for some first-time violent offenders. The other bills decrease drug sentences and lower minimum sentences for habitual offenders.

If the measures all pass, Edwards expects Louisiana's prison population fall by 10 percent over the next decade.