Associated Press

The floods that inundated Louisiana in August also damaged rice harvested as seed for this year's planting. 

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain says he's temporarily relaxed certification requirements to ensure farmers can buy enough for a chance at a good crop. 

Department seed programs director Lester Cannon says farmers will have to buy more of some lots to make up for the problem, but sellers will drop the price to make up for it. 

A government official says the Trump administration will revoke guidelines that say transgender students should be allowed to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity. 

The decision would be a reversal of an Obama-era directive issued in May. It required public schools to grant bathroom access even if student records differ or others are uncomfortable. The White House says President Donald Trump believes the issue is for the states to decide without federal involvement. 

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With time running short, Louisiana's lawmakers have moved the pieces of a budget-rebalancing deal into place.

 

But final passage of the plan to close a $304 million deficit remained far from certain. 

The special legislative session called by Gov. John Bel Edwards to eliminate the gap must end Wednesday.

 

The broad outlines of a negotiated deal between the House, Senate and governor were reached Monday by legislative leaders. But Republican House leaders acknowledged Tuesday they don't necessarily yet have the votes to pass it.

 

Police are asking for the public's help in finding a purple suitcase that may contain remains of a 25-year-old Colorado woman after her former boyfriend was arrested in Oklahoma on a murder charge.

 

The Boulder Daily Camera reports police in Colorado believe that partial remains found in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, on Wednesday were those of Ashley Mead. She disappeared from Boulder, Colorado, this month.

 

Investigators in the two states say they believe other remains might have been left in the suitcase somewhere between Louisiana and Oklahoma.

 

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Police in the northeast Louisiana city of Monroe say an afternoon train derailment led to the rerouting of rush-hour traffic and a precautionary evacuation of buildings within a block of the site.

 

Police Detective Reggie Brown says no injuries were reported in the accident, which happened around 2 p.m. Thursday. Five cars were involved.

 

Brown says the cars remained upright and none of the train cars leaked, but an evacuation was ordered because they held hazardous materials. The News-Star reported the chemical was nitropropane, a toxic solvent.

senate.la.gov

 A third state lawmaker has entered the race to be Louisiana's next treasurer.

Republican Sen. Neil Riser, a funeral home owner from Caldwell Parish, announced Thursday that he is joining two GOP colleagues - Reps. Julie Stokes of Jefferson Parish and John Schroder of St. Tammany Parish - in competing for the seat.

In a statement, Riser says he'd be a "watchdog" for taxpayers. He says Louisiana's budget has grown too large and he'll push to curb waste in state government as treasurer.

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President Donald Trump appears to be faulting the Obama administration for being "too soft" on Russia, pointing to Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine on President Barack Obama's watch.

 

He tweeted, "Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?"

 

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New Orleans police say a University of Southern Mississippi student fell through a closed 11th-story hotel window onto a hotel's fourth-floor pool deck and died.

 

An email Tuesday from the coroner's office identifies the dead man as 20-year-old Cole Whaley, and says he died early Saturday at the DoubleTree Hotel.

 

The University of Southern Mississippi told Hattiesburg news outlets that Whaley was a student from Mobile, Alabama, and was in New Orleans for an off-campus function of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.

 

Senators have started advancing legislation that would use Louisiana's "rainy day" fund to help close the state's $304 million budget deficit.

 

The Senate Finance Committee moved the proposal Tuesday to the full Senate for debate without action, meaning committee members didn't vote in support or opposition of the idea.

 

Whether to tap into the fund — and how much to use — is the central disagreement of the budget-rebalancing debate.

 

Opening day formalities behind them, lawmakers and Gov. John Bel Edwards are trying to negotiate a deal to close Louisiana's $304 million deficit. 

The Democratic governor met Tuesday morning with top House and Senate leaders in closed-door talks, on the second day of a budget-rebalancing special session. 

The central point of contention is whether to use Louisiana's "rainy day" fund to help close the gap and if so, how much. 

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