BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – One Baton Rouge grandmother feels disappointment and frustration after lawmakers did not pass Devin’s Law on the state level.
Cathy Toliver, the grandmother of Devin Page Jr., said she is hurt and outraged because House Bill 606, or Devin’s Law, failed in the Louisiana House with a 28-70 vote. However, a bill to create a security district around LSU passed unanimously.
Devin was a 3-year-old shot by a stray bullet and killed in his bed during a drive-by shooting. The bill would’ve allowed tenants to break their lease if two or more violent crimes were reported within a 1/10th mile radius. It also would require property owners to follow specific security measures, such as installing cameras.
Lawmakers were concerned renters would take advantage of the law and it would become expensive for landlords.
LSU crime prevention district plan moves forward
They did support a bill authored by state Rep. Barbara Freiberg, R-Baton Rouge. It would add security patrols, cameras and other projects within a new crime prevention district around the LSU campus.
Freiberg said, “Parents send their kids here from all over the state, all over the country, and they want to know their students are safe here in Baton Rouge, and we want them to be in Baton Rouge safe. This is just one additional step we can take to make sure not only the residents of Baton Rouge are safe but those to come to our city for a time are also safe.”
The crime prevention district will run on fees of up to $5,000 from business owners.
A hearing before the Senate committee on local and municipal affairs is set to hear the bill has not been set.
If the Legislature OKs the bill, residents and business owners will have the final say in whether the district is implemented.
Grandmother vows she’ll get Devin’s Law passed at state level
Toliver believes failing to pass Devin’s Law shows lawmakers are biased.
“But now, Freiberg created a bill, has created a bill where there’s going to be $5,000, you know, something like that. It will not exceed $5,000. I’m upset with that because you can go and talk about beautifying LSU. You can talk about making LSU and that area safe. But what about the people in North Baton Rouge? What about people like my daughter who was in an area that was dangerous? And the property managers did not move her out, and because they didn’t move her out, they put my grandbaby right in the face of the bullet. They killed my grandbaby. But you don’t want to invest money in that. But you can invest money in LSU to make sure that it’s safe, to make sure that it’s beautified. I have a problem with that,” said Toliver.
Toliver says she will work to get the bill brought back for the 2024 legislative session.
BRProud has reached out to State Rep. Freiberg for comment. Here is what she had to say, “Well, it’s two completely different scenarios. One is where you would take everyone and require everyone to do the same thing. All the apartment complexes and all the homes that are rented rentals. This is a totally different thing. A security district is something the people in the district say we want to pay extra money because we want extra security. So, it’s two totally different scenarios, totally different policies for each of those.”
Frieberg goes on to say what happened to three year old devin page junior is tragic… and its happening all over our town every day. She says If Toliver wants a security district for North Baton Rouge, she would be happy to speak with Toliver to discuss how to make it happen.