A proposal to raise Louisiana's cigarette tax was rejected by lawmakers on the House tax committee Tuesday, a vote that appeared likely to end efforts to boost the tax this legislative session.

The Louisiana House voted Tuesday to ban enforcement of any federal restrictions on owning semi-automatic weapons, over the objections of critics who said the measure couldn't withstand a court challenge.

House Education Committee members have backed a proposal requiring the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to delay using new methods for calculating school performance letter grades.

Holly Leleux-Thubron represents one of the casualties of the Iberia Parish Council’s war against Parish President Errol "Romo" Romero’s administration and is the reason for a demand letter filed on her behalf with the council. That letter, and possible lawsuit, will be discussed in executive session during Wednesday ’s council meeting.

The 2012-2013 Teachers of the Year are Sarah Malagarie at SJ Montgomery Elementary, Heather Olson of Edgar Martin Middle and Rosey Kyle of Thibodaux STEM Academy.

A court-appointed claims administrator can continue making payments to businesses affected by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico while BP appeals a judge's decision in a dispute over the payouts.

The Louisiana Senate has overwhelmingly agreed to a new abortion restriction that would require doctors to be present when the abortion pill is administered.

Supporters of a statewide energy efficiency program on Monday sued the Louisiana Public Service Commission over its handling of a decision to shelve the program.

The bills pushed by the mainly Republican group nicknamed the "fiscal hawks" would limit what dollars lawmakers and the governor could use to pay for ongoing programs and services — striking at Gov. Bobby Jindal's continued use of patchwork funding to balance the budget.

A bid to raise cigarette taxes to the rates charged in neighboring Texas stalled in the House tax committee Monday, as lawmakers continue to show resistance to raising any of Louisiana's current tax rates.

The measure by Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, would prohibit retribution against those who refuse a request for access to their email, Facebook pages and other personal online sites.

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