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Louisiana House passes bill toughening hazing penalties

April 2, 2018

Stephen and Rae Ann Gruver sit in a House committee room behind a photo of their son, 18-year-old Maxwell Gruver, a Louisiana State University freshman who died with a blood-alcohol content six times higher than the legal limit for driving in what authorities say was a hazing incident, on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, in Baton Rouge, La. The Gruvers spoke to the House criminal justice committee in support of a bill to toughen Louisiana's hazing laws. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte)

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Hazing that kills someone is closer to becoming a felony crime in Louisiana as a proposal to strengthen the penalty sailed through the state House.

Rep. Nancy Landry’s bill was backed 87-0 Monday, followed by a round of applause.

The Lafayette Republican’s proposal would make hazing that kills someone punishable by up to five years in prison. State law currently treats hazing as a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of up to 30 days in jail.

Landry’s bill is supported by parents of 18-year-old Louisiana State University freshman Maxwell Gruver. He died in September with a blood-alcohol limit six times higher than the legal limit for driving after an alleged hazing ritual.

Four people were charged in Gruver’s death.

The bill heads to the Senate.

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House Bill 78: www.legis.la.gov

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