Bill to allow wine-infused ice cream advances
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — It took three committee hearings, but lawmakers have finally reached a compromise on bill that would allow the sale of wine-infused ice cream in Louisiana.
The House Judiciary Committee quickly made changes to the proposal (House Bill 471) by Rep. Marcus Hunter, D-Monroe, before unanimously approving it Thursday and sending it to the full House for debate.
To address concerns about underage access to the alcohol-laced ice cream, lawmakers added limitations that would restrict sales of the boozy treats to retailers that are authorized to sell liquor.
That means the ice cream truck wouldn’t be allowed to carry Buzz Bars, ice cream bars that contain whiskey, cognac, rum or lemon vodka among other flavors.
The state’s Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control says lawmakers need to authorize sale of the products before they can hit grocers’ freezers.
Both the House and Senate have unanimously agreed to outlaw the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18 in Louisiana, similar to the state’s existing ban on cigarette sales to minors.
The House voted 88-0 Thursday for the bill (House Bill 1264) by Rep. Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe. A similar measure (Senate Bill 12) has received the support of the Senate. One of the bills will need to get approval from both chambers to get final passage.
The bills would add e-cigarettes, vaporizers and other alternative nicotine products to the list of items that, like cigarettes, cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18 in the state.
E-cigarettes and vaporizers are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs that typically contain nicotine, and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint or chocolate. Users get their nicotine without the chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.
In other legislative action:
—The House unanimously agreed Thursday to create a new misdemeanor crime targeting prostitutes and panhandlers. The measure (House Bill 1158) by Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, would allow police to arrest people for soliciting funds or transportation from another person. Violations would carry a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of no more than $200. The proposal heads next to the Senate for debate.
—The House voted 89-0 Thursday to keep hidden from the public any information considered “commercially sensitive” to a public utility authority. The protected information would include fuel costs, power pricing details, and customer billing and usage information. The measure (House Bill 1121) by Rep. Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur, moves to the Senate for consideration.