Associated Press

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Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a bill allowing companies to sue anyone who shares secretly made videotape aimed at harming a business owner. The bill was set up to target animal rights activists but opponents say it goes too far and could threaten nearly all whistleblowers.

 

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Arkansas' governor says he supports efforts to exempt college sporting events and the state's medical school from a new law greatly expanding where concealed handguns are allowed.

 

The Republican governor said in a statement Thursday that he supports the changes approved by the Senate to the concealed handguns law he signed into law a day earlier. The new law allows people with a concealed handgun to carry at colleges, some bars, government buildings and even the state Capitol if they undergo up to eight hours of active shooter training.

 

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Arkansas lawmakers have given final legislative approval and sent to the governor a bill limiting where medical marijuana patients can smoke the drug.

 

The state Senate voted 31-1 Thursday for the bill to prohibit smoking medical marijuana anywhere tobacco smoke is banned. It also bans anyone under 21 from smoking medical marijuana, bans smoking the drug around anyone under the age of 14 or knowingly smoking the drug in the presence of a pregnant woman. It would also ban smoking medical pot in motor vehicles, aircraft or motorized watercraft.

 

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The U.S. Coast Guard says four men have been rescued from a disabled boat in Drum Bay.

 

The Coast Guard said in a statement that they were notified of the emergency late Wednesday night. After losing communications with the boat, the Coast Guard launched a helicopter crew from New Orleans to help the four men.

 

Authorities said a rescue swimmer was dropped into the water, and the four men were hoisted to the aircraft and then taken to get medical treatment early Thursday morning.

 

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A federal appeals court in New Orleans will be asked to reconsider its ruling allowing student-led prayer at school board meetings.

 

On Monday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that such prayers don't run afoul of the prohibition against government-established religion.

 

The American Humanist Association, a plaintiff in the case, disagreed. An attorney with the group said Wednesday a request for a hearing by the full 15-member court will be filed in the next two weeks.

 

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Louisiana has launched a statewide effort to find property owners and landlords who can provide rental housing to some of the thousands still displaced by massive flooding last year.

 

Gov. John Bel Edwards described the kickoff of the Louisiana Housing Heroes Initiative on Tuesday as incredibly important to the state's recovery.

 

More than 45,000 flood victims are still living with relatives since the flooding, according to state estimates. Another 373 people are living in hotels.

 

Louisiana's state senators may derail plans by Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration to eliminate a program that provides mental health services to thousands of children.

 

The Edwards administration intends to shutter the program on April 1, to save more than $2 million this year. The program elimination is part of the Louisiana Department of Health's response to cuts levied by lawmakers in last month's special session to close a deficit.

 

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Viet Anh Vo is a U.S. citizen who's lived in Louisiana since he was an infant, but he says in court papers he's unable to get a marriage license under a 2015 state law that, he argues, discriminates against the foreign-born.

 

A federal judge in New Orleans will hear the case Wednesday.

 

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Louisiana's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is offering seven free boating education courses around the state this week.

 

The effort is part of a national Spring Aboard-Take a Boating Education Course campaign.

 

Boating education courses are mandatory for anyone in Louisiana born after Jan. 1, 1984, who operates a motorboat over 10 horsepower. The wildlife and fisheries department says its safe boating education program, started in 2003, has certified more than 99,000 boaters.

 

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 A sheriff's deputy in Louisiana is dead after being shot near a movie theater in Baton Rouge while on duty.

 

Local news outlets report that the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office deputy was rushed to the hospital after being shot late Saturday. Reports say he and another deputy were conducting an investigation when the shooting occurred.

 

A suspect was shot and injured and taken to a hospital.

 

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