Wallis Watkins

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 health and health policy for Louisiana's Prescription.

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

After months of deadlock, lawmakers have finally agreed on a solution to the fiscal cliff, avoiding major cuts to state services and bringing an early end to the third special session.

Lawmakers in Louisiana’s House reached a bipartisan compromise Friday, ending a months-long stalemate over taxes. The House narrowly approved setting the state sales tax rate at 4.45% starting July 1. That rate would stay in place for 7 years - until 2025.

The United States Supreme Court handed down a ruling Thursday that threw a curveball into tax negotiations inside the Louisiana Capitol. 

Lawmakers continue to debate how many tenths of a penny should remain as part of the state's sales-tax rate. On Wednesday, a House committee advanced three options. 

The House Appropriations committee spent the second day of a 10-day special session rehashing old budget debates. 

Lawmakers filed back into the Capitol Monday for a third special session. They’ll spend the next 10 days focusing on the same problem they've failed to address twice already this year. In less than two weeks, the state will lose over $1 billion in revenue. 

The House and Senate gavel back into session today to restart the lingering tax debate.

Probation services for youth in Louisiana’s Juvenile Justice system are on the chopping block. If hit with an $11 million cut outlined in the current budget, Deputy Secretary James Bueche says his department would be forced to layoff more than 100 employees who work with kids on probation. 

If a budget cut to the Louisiana Department of Corrections isn’t resolved by June 30, thousands of state offenders would be released from prison.

There wasn’t enough agreement in the second special session for lawmakers to renew a sales tax increase in Louisiana, but the Legislature did manage to pass a tax break for low-income families.

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