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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The House Appropriations Committee took up its part of the budget fix Wednesday afternoon, making changes to the Governor’s plan to resolve the $304 million deficit for this fiscal year. 


Sue Lincoln

The Senate Finance Committee met Tuesday afternoon, getting right to work on advancing authorization to use one-third of the Budget Stabilization Fund, also referred to as the Rainy Day Fund. 


It’s been nearly six months since the historic flooding in southeast Louisiana. Since then, Congress has authorized $1.6 billion for the state to help people repair homes and businesses. But that’s well short of the estimated $8 billion in damage done. Wallis Watkins spoke with some flood survivors trying to navigate the recovery process.

Governor John Bel Edwards is traveling to Washington, D.C. - his sixth trip since the August flooding in Louisiana. He’ll be meeting with lawmakers to request an additional $2 billion in flood relief.

So far, Congress has approved two installments of funding for the state at a total of $1.6 billion. But Governor Edwards says that is still short of what’s needed.

Last week, the Governor sent letters to both the Louisiana Congressional Delegation and President Trump describing the unmet needs of homeowners, renters and businesses.

Wallis Watkins

Governor John Bel Edwards has released his plan for cutting $304 million from this fiscal year’s budget.

The Governor has called for $119 million of that deficit to be filled with money from the Rainy Day Fund. Addressing the Louisiana Municipal Association Tuesday, he explained that money is there to help stabilize the budget. 


CPRA

The Governor’s Advisory Commission On Coastal Protection, Restoration and Conservation met at the Capitol Wednesday to discuss The Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's 2017 Master Plan. 


Louisiana’s senior Senator, Republican Bill Cassidy, presented a possible replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act Monday. 


The federal government has already allocated $1.6 billion to Louisiana to aid in recovery from the August flood. Today, the Restore Louisiana Task Force approved the Governor’s plan on how to spend it. 

A large majority of the federal recovery money -- $1.3 billion -- will be spent on home repairs.

The focus is on over 36-thousand homes that took on major damage and were not covered by flood insurance.

Wallis Watkins / WWNO

Over a third of the public schools in Livingston Parish were damaged by the flooding in Southeast Louisiana last August. While some of those schools have been repaired, others still haven't been able to reopen - like Southside Junior High School, where classes began this new year at a new site - for now. 


Louisiana Department of Education

The annual application period for the state’s school voucher program is now open, despite uncertainty over availability of state funding.

Due to a 2013 Louisiana Supreme Court ruling, vouchers are not funded through the Minimum Foundation Program, or MFP. That’s the money public schools receive from both state and local tax dollars.

On Monday, Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal decided Type 2 charter schools don’t qualify for MFP funding either. 


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