Mississippi lawmakers are moving closer to negotiations on a cigarette tax increase.
The House Thursday declined to accept the Senate's proposal to set the excise tax at 49 cents a pack, up from the current 18. Instead, the House voted to seek talks between the two chambers. The House proposes $1 a pack.
President Barack Obama signed a law Wednesday that will increase the federal cigarette excise tax by 62 cents, to $1.01 a pack, March 31 to help pay for an expansion of a children's health insurance program.
Mississippi lawmakers say they don't know how the federal increase will affect talks about the state rate.