Monday, May 27, 2024
Home » Louisiana State Representative McMahen outlines legislative priorities for upcoming sessions

Louisiana State Representative McMahen outlines legislative priorities for upcoming sessions

by Amber McDown

In an exclusive interview with the Minden Press-Herald, State Representative Dr. Wayne McMahen shed light on the imminent legislative agenda set to unfold in Baton Rouge. Anticipating a three-week special session closely followed by the regular session, McMahen delineated key topics earmarked for deliberation.

Crime, touted as a paramount concern, tops the legislative docket. “We have a high crime rate across our state and, if you don’t have a safe state, it’s hard to keep your kids here when they graduate from college,” stated McMahen. Governor Landry’s past tenure as attorney general augurs well for having a deep understanding of the problems of crime in Louisiana. “I think he understands the issues that we’re dealing with in this state.”

McMahen anticipates that lowering the age of criminal responsibility back to 17 years will be one of the topics discussed. In 2016, the law was changed and, at that point, 17-year-olds started being treated as juveniles in the criminal court system. Within the juvenile system, more crimes — especially violent crimes — are committed by 17-year olds than any other age. This legal change has caused the juvenile system to be overwhelmed, without enough spaces to hold these young people. It has also become an additional problem that this age group causes the most problems within the system as well. “Down at Ware [Youth Center], one of the big issues that they’ve had is that the 17-year-olds are disrupting the facilities and making it hard for them to take care of the 13- to 16-year-olds,” said McMahen.

Among the many topics likely to be part of these sessions, Representative McMahen hopes to include the management of Louisiana’s natural resources, addressing the problem of students reading below grade level, ways to increase availability of healthcare in rural communities, and funding infrastructure repairs and enhancements, especially bridges in rural areas.

Representative McMahen hopes that, as the Louisiana Legislature addresses the many issues they will be handed, they will take a long-term proactive approach rather than just reacting to individual problems. “I look back over the last 40 to 50 years, and I think our state has been reactionary. We react to the issues as they come up, and we very seldom have a long-range goal of how to get our state in a better position.”

As the legislative landscape beckons, Representative McMahen exudes optimism, viewing the upcoming term as an opportunity for transformative change. “I’m excited about the next four years. The more I think about it, the more opportunities we have to make our state better.”

Related Posts