Wallis Watkins

Producer & Contributing Reporter

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.

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Wallis Watkins

These days, fewer state employees are spending their entire careers in government work. About 70 percent are expected to leave their job before they can earn full retirement. 

Wallis Watkins

Two weeks into the regular legislative session, lawmakers continue to hear concerns from various departments over next year’s budget, like being unable to afford to house state inmates, or pay for Louisiana’s safety-net hospitals. 

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Harrah's — by contract, the only land-based casino in New Orleans — is one step closer to extending its deal with the state of Louisiana.

The current contract is set to end in six years. But a bill brought by Speaker of the House Taylor Barras would give it another 30. In return, Harrah's has agreed to invest $350 million in its facility. 

Wallis Watkins

LSU announced Wednesday that it is banning the fraternity Phi Delta Theta from its campus until 2032 for violating university hazing policies. Just a few hours earlier, a House committee voted to increase the penalties for hazing in the state of Louisiana. 

Patrick Feller via Flickr / creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Louisiana is one of only two states in the country where a 12-person jury doesn’t have to reach a unanimous decision in order to convict someone of a felony. 

Wallis Watkins

Much like health care and higher education in Louisiana, the Department of Corrections is facing deep budget cuts next fiscal year, which would leave them with less money to house inmates. 

Wallis Watkins

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 its biggest problems. 

Sarah Gamard/LSU Manship School News Service

Appearing before the Senate Labor committee Thursday, Gov. John Bel Edwards urged members to pass equal pay and minimum wage legislation. 

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. 

Wallis Watkins

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. 

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