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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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. 


Louisiana is set to receive $1.2 billion in recovery money as a result of the August flooding.

On Friday, Governor John Bel Edwards presented a plan that would predominately direct that $1.2 billion--approved by Congress in December--towards housing recovery, the state’s biggest need following the flood.

Sue Lincoln

Louisiana’s congressional delegation has three new members, all Republican. Congressmen Mike Johnson (R-Bossier City) and Clay Higgins (R-Opelousas) and Senator John Kennedy (R-Madisonville) were sworn into office Tuesday in Washington. 


LDEQ

The Department of Environmental Quality does attempt to educate law enforcement officials about environmental crimes.  Capitol Access’ Wallis Watkins recently attended one of their seminars.


At his end-of-the-year press conference, Governor John Bel Edwards reflected on the challenge 2016 was for Louisiana.

“The toughest day for me was the Sunday when I woke up and was getting ready for church and found out that we had a gunman in Baton Rouge that was obviously targeting police officers,” reflected Edwards. 


lsu.edu

Higher Education officials are asking the House Appropriations Committee for $1.1 billion next fiscal year. That’s $188 million more than they received in the current budget. 


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