COVINGTON, La. -- A state lawmaker is proposing a "Blue Lives Matter" bill that would essentially make it a hate crime to target police officers and firefighters in Louisiana.
Across the metro area, as part of National Police Memorial Week, ceremonies are taking place to remember men and women in blue killed in the line of duty. A state lawmaker from Alexandria now hopes a three-page House Bill will become law and ultimately making it a hate crime to target police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service personnel across Louisiana.
At least two dozen crimes listed in the proposed bill include first and second-degree murder, manslaughter, battery, rape and assault with a weapon.
State representative Lance Harris went on the record saying the ambush of a Houston deputy last August, who was shot 15 times in the head, is why he'd like to see the "Blue Lives Matter" law pass.
PANO attorney Eric Hessler said he applauds the proposed bill.
“I think the State of Louisiana, we're leading the country in officer assaults," Hessler said. "Every deterrent we can have to bring that under control is certainly welcomed.”
The term "Blue Lives Matter" is connected to a movement which sprung up in New York City in response to the "Black Lives Matter" movement. A host of websites and social media pages celebrate the pro-law enforcement phrase. It has also sparked some outcry in other parts of the country.
"Take offense to the term 'Blue Lives Matter'? I think the only person that would take offense to that is someone who thinks blue lives don't matter. I'm one of the persons that think all lives matter,” added Hessler.
The New Orleans Fraternal Order of Police issued the following statement in response to the bill being considered:
"We are happy to see broad support for this measure with no nay votes. This legislation sends a good message to our law enforcement officers and other first responders that we appreciate the dangers they face on a daily basis and that we are going to do our best to protect those who protect us."
Dillard University professor of Urban Studies, Robert Collins, points out how the proposed bill hasn't received any real opposition in Baton Rouge.
"Culturally within the City of New Orleans, and within Southeast Louisiana in general, we just have a better relationship within law enforcement, and that's why, as a result, there's no real political opposition to this bill including the Black Caucus,” Collins said.
Collins predicts the proposed law enforcement legislation will become state law soon enough.
“The State of Louisiana will be the first state to in the Union to have a "Blue Lives Matter" bill," Collins said.
The proposed bill was approved by the House and is now in the hands of the State Senate. If passed, it will head to Governor Edwards' desk for his signature.