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2018 In Review: Capitol Access

Louisiana State Capitol
Wallis Watkins
Louisiana State Capitol

2018 was a long year for Louisiana politics - with special sessions, a budget stalemate, elections, tariffs and more. We're looking back at some of the top stories of the past year.

It started with a series of special sessions, as the state legislature debated how many tenths of a penny should stay on the state sales tax rate in order to avoid a steep budget deficit. Turns out the magic number was .45% of one penny

The year progressed and special sessions gave way to elections. Louisiana voters decided to overturn a century-old law that allowed juries in the state to convict someone of a felony with a less-than-unanimous verdict. With that vote, Louisiana joined the other 48 states that require unanimous jury decisions. 

Throughout 2018, national policies trickled down to The Pelican State. Tariffs imposed by President Trump were met with retaliation from China. The state's soybean industry took a particularly hard hit that's still being felt today.

What's going to happen next? Some lawmakers are already talking about rolling back the sales tax. Will lawyers challenge the start date of the new unanimous jury law, looking to make it retroactive for their clients? And when will soybean farmers see relief?

While these stories are rooted in 2018, the impact of these policies will continue to play out well into the new year.

Copyright 2018 WRKF

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.