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.

Sarah Gamard / LSU Manship School News Service

The legislature is in the final days of its special session - and lawmakers are still working to finalize budget and tax bills for the coming fiscal year. Capitol Access reporter Wallis Watkins and editor Jessica Rosgaard bring you up to speed on what you may have missed this week in the state capitol.

The House approved a two-part budget plan Thursday that would give more funding to state programs than they had in the budget vetoed by Gov. John Bel Edwards, but it's still shy of meeting the entire shortfall. 

As legislators approach the end of the special session, a Senate committee got its first crack at the session’s key bill Wednesday night.

As the special session enters its second week, lawmakers still haven’t been able to agree on a way to raise revenue.

The first real tax debate of the second special session happened Thursday in Ways and Means. After hours of discussion, visibly drained and irritated committee members passed just one tax bill and rejected a slew of others, including those supported by Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Two days into the special session, and there’s no indication of smooth roads ahead. Gov. John Bel Edwards rallied hospital and higher education groups to the Capitol Wednesday to help him convince legislators to raise revenue for next year’s budget. 

Another special session is underway at the Capitol. But on Tuesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards broke tradition and didn’t address the legislature to open the session. Instead, he left the Capitol and spoke with elected officials and supporters at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

On Tuesday the Legislature starts its second special session this year. Lawmakers will attempt to address the state's nearly $650-million budget shortfall. The question is: How will they agree to raise revenue?

"Members, we have reported to the Senate that the House is prepared to Sine Die," Rep. Bob Hensgens (R-Abbeville) announced on the House floor Friday.  With that, the Louisiana Legislature ended the regular session two weeks ahead of schedule. They'll be back to work Tuesday for a special session on the budget and taxes. 

The Louisiana Legislature has sent a state budget for next year to Gov. John Bel Edwards' desk. But, as of Wednesday, the Governor said he doesn’t support the bill with nearly $650 million in cuts. 

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