BATON ROUGE – Troy Brown's resignation from the State Senate for domestic battery was celebrated by his fellow lawmakers this week, however it also sheds light to a loophole in the state's domestic violence laws.
Brown criticized his former lawmakers for forcing him out of the Senate for two misdemeanor battery offenses.
"We must accept and understand that the constitutional dialogue does not say that a senator should be expelled from his seat by way of a misdemeanor offense," Brown said.
In Louisiana, the first domestic violence charge can be a misdemeanor, however the second charge is an automatic felony. Some question why Brown did not get a felony for his two offenses. Brown's first conviction was for abusing his girlfriend, however instead of getting a domestic violence charge, he received a simple battery charge.
If the laws were different, Brown could have been convicted of a felony when he abused his wife, following the incident with his girlfriend. That would have automatically suspended Brown from the Senate.
"Because the way the statue is written, it does not cover dating partners who are not living under the same household," Representative Helena Moreno said.
Last year, Moreno said that she tried to add dating partners to the state's domestic violence laws, however it was opposed by cultural conservatives who did not want gay couples included and the National Rifle Association who did not want an expansion of gun restrictions.
"If you now add dating partners, that's a whole new pool of individuals that will now have a firearm prohibition when it comes to domestic abuse battery convictions and also on the protection order side," Moreno said.
Moreno said that she will continue to push for stricter domestic violence laws.