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.
An active day at the Capitol Tuesday began with the House Ways and Means committee taking up HB 632 by Baton Rouge Representative Steve Carter. The bill aims to increase the gas tax in Louisiana by 17 cents. Along with Department of Transportation Secretary Sean Wilson, Representative Carter stressed the additional money would be dedicated solely to infrastructure.
Last week, a plan to try and fund the Comite River Diversion project out of the 2016 flood recovery money created a debate on the House floor. The plan was brought by Denham Springs Representative Valerie Hodges.
Of the $1.6 billion Congress has appropriated for Louisiana’s flood recovery efforts, $1.3 billion is dedicated to homeowners. In the August flood alone, the Small Business Administration has approved nearly as much in disaster loans to repair flooded houses. But as Wallis Watkins reports, some homeowners feel getting that help has put them at a disadvantage.
At Friday's meeting of the Restore Louisiana Task Force, the members approved a formal request for an additional $2 billion in recovery funds as part of a federal budget proposal being considered by Congress next week.
University of Louisiana System Day at the Capitol Wednesday treated lawmakers and visitors alike to a performance by the Grambling State University band. But inside the building, officials and students from the nine-school system had serious concerns for the House Appropriations Committee.
Secretary of Economic Development Don Pierson took his turn in front of an Appropriations Subcommittee on Business Development Tuesday. He says while some areas in Louisiana are seeing economic growth, that’s not the case across the state.
The House Appropriations Committee met at the Capitol Tuesday to begin discussing the Governor's proposal for next fiscal year's budget.
“Because of the limitations on dollars available from the Revenue Estimating Conference," explained Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne, "we’re not able to show you a budget that does everything the Governor feels it ought to do.”