BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - With the narrowest of votes, the Louisiana House voted to lower the maximum sentence for repeat marijuana possession from 20 years to eight years.
The bill by Rep. Austin Badon, a New Orleans Democrat, moved to the Senate with a 53-36 vote. That was the minimum support needed to pass.
Law enforcement associations don't oppose the bill, but Badon called it a tough vote because lawmakers could appear soft on crime in an election year.
The bill retains a six-month sentence for a first offense. But prison time for a second offense would drop from five to two years. A third conviction - which currently carries a 20-year maximum - would drop to a five-year maximum. A fourth conviction would have an 8-year sentence cap.
House Bill 149: www.legis.la.gov