Lawmakers focus on protecting sexual assault victims
BATON ROUGE, La. - Victims' advocates say the way rape victims are treated in Louisiana is among the worst in the country. But that's soon to change.
Lawmakers have approved a package of bills to address the way hospitals, authorities and public colleges investigate sexual assault and treat the victims. The measures now await the signature of Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, who supported the legislation during the recently adjourned legislative session.
State Rep. Helena Moreno sponsored many of the bills with fellow New Orleans Democrat, Sen. J.P. Morrell. Moreno called passage "a huge step."
Moreno sponsored proposals that will bar health care providers from billing victims for a forensic exam, pregnancy testing and STD testing, among others. Bills pushed by Morrell address the thorny issue of how sexual assaults are investigated on public college campuses.