As of Monday, the Louisiana “Blue Lives Matter” bill takes effect, officially making it a hate crime in Louisiana to intentionally attack a police officer or first responder because of his or her uniform.
Louisiana’s “Blue Lives Matter” bill went into effect Monday, making it a hate crime to intentionally harm a police officer or first responder because of his or her uniform, KSLA reports.
As the station notes, the bill, formally called Act 184, is the first of its kind and was officially signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards May 26, long before the recent attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La.
Individuals who target officers, firefighters and EMS members will now see increased jail time and penalties.
The bill has, naturally, brought up varying opinions.
Louisiana State Police Superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson spoke in favor of the bill during the final push for the legislation earlier this year.
“Our job is in a tumultuous time right now because you’ve got individuals out there that don’t mind hurting somebody,” he said at the time.
However, others were not so warm to the idea.
“Laws like this to me tend to divide because now you’re going to separate, where you’ve got ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Blue Lives Matter,’ and you got this contest going on and it’s just not helpful,” Louisiana NAACP President Ernest Johnson said, according to KSLA.
As the station notes, similar efforts to protect emergency responders are underway in several other states, and even at the federal level.