The law provoked an outcry from conservatives who said the government was empowering itself to squash school bake sales and should not be telling kids what to eat. Updated regulations last year on subsidized school lunches produced a backlash, too, altogether making the government shy of further food regulation until the election passed. The new rules leave school fundraisers clear of federal regulation, alleviating fears of cupcake-crushing edicts at bake sales and the like.

â¿¿The Justice Department released an opinion that people with food allergies can be considered to have the rights of disabled people. The finding exposes schools, restaurants and other food-service places to more legal risk if they don't accommodate patrons with food allergies.

â¿¿The White House said Obama intends to move forward on rules controlling carbon emissions from power plants as a central part of the effort to restrain climate change, which the president rarely talked about after global-warming legislation failed in his first term. With a major climate bill unlikely to get though a divided Congress, Obama is expected to rely on his executive authority to achieve whatever progress he makes on climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to complete the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from new coal-fired power plants. The agency also probably will press ahead on rules for existing power plants, despite protests from industry and Republicans that such rules would raise electricity prices and kill off coal, the dominant U.S. energy source. Older coal-fired power plants have been shutting across the country because of low natural gas prices and weaker demand for electricity.

â¿¿In December, the government proposed long-delayed rules requiring automakers to install event data recorders, or "black boxes," in all new cars and light trucks beginning Sept. 1, 2014. Most new cars are already getting them.

â¿¿The EPA proposed rules to update water quality guidelines for beaches and control runoff from logging roads.

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