Wallis Watkins is a Baton Rouge native. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Philosophy from Louisiana State University in 2013. Soon after, she joined WRKF as an intern and is now reporting on politics for Capitol Access and science and health for Louisiana's Lab.
Today, the Legislature begins the second week of a three month-long regular session - and there’s a lot of work to be done. But, according to a statewide survey, few Louisianians are confident that state government can handle it’s biggest problems.
Some lawmakers say Louisiana’s constitution makes it difficult to address the state’s budget crisis. So Rep. Franklin Foil (R-Baton Rouge) says it should be rewritten, at least in part. That hasn’t been done since the 1970s.
The Legislature has started considering next year's budget, including $700 million in cuts. On Tuesday, Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, the state’s chief budget officer, set the scene for the House Appropriations committee.
Gov. John Bel Edwards kicked off the regular session Monday with a state-of-the-state address. He touted accomplishments from his first two years in office, such as chipping away at the backlog of infrastructure projects, a low unemployment rate and bipartisan criminal justice reform.
The state Legislature is back at work today. Just one week after ending a rocky special session, Gov. John Bel Edwards used his State of the State address to urge lawmakers to work together and move forward.
The state legislature couldn't figure out a way to solve the budget shortfall for next fiscal year. That leaves Louisiana’s universities — and students on TOPS scholarships — wondering how to pay for school. An answer isn't likely to come before June.
Legislators are moving on from a failed special session to focus on the regular session that starts Monday.
Robert Travis Scott is President of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, a non-partisan public policy group. Despite the collapse of the special session, Scott says there's still progress to be made over the next few months.