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.

Gov. John Bel Edwards appeared before the Senate Finance committee Sunday, once again reminding lawmakers of the looming budget problem the state faces and the impact it could have, especially in health care. 

Bills that would raise standards for TOPS scholarship students narrowly passed their first test Thursday in the House Education committee. 

A handful of bills that would strengthen sexual harassment policies in state government passed a Senate committee Wednesday. 

A Senate committee gave the first stamp of approval to a bill that would raise the purchasing age for assault rifles in Louisiana. 

The full House has approved a bill making hazing a felony in Louisiana when it results in serious bodily injury or death.

Right now, hazing is only a misdemeanor. 

Increasing the minimum wage, expanding equal pay for women, strengthening policies against sexual harassment — these are all goals Gov. John Bel Edwards wanted to achieve in the regular session. But last week, all three policies hit a wall. 

One police officer has been fired, and another suspended following the 2016 fatal shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge.

Earlier this week, the full Senate rejected bills that would establish a state minimum wage and expand equal pay for women in Louisiana. On Thursday, a labor committee showed there's not much appetite for those policies in the House, either. 

Louisiana is currently facing a $700 million budget shortfall, but ended last year with a surplus.

Gov. John Bel Edwards presented his plan for how to spend that extra $120 million. 

Louisiana has a backlog of road and bridge projects worth nearly $14 billion. The state pays for its infrastructure needs through a gasoline tax of 20 cents per gallon, a rate that hasn't changed since 1989. 

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