Senate tobacco negotiators Saturday again neared agreement on a bill that would raise cigarette prices by $1.10 a pack over five years, but bogged down over legal protections for the industry.

The Senate Commerce Committee has been holding almost round-the-clock negotiations for much of the past week and has repeatedly thought the end was in sight on a bill that could get broad bipartisan support.But the talks have been stuck over two key questions - Food and Drug Administration authority over nicotine and tobacco and how much legal protection the industry should get from certain lawsuits.

Committee and public health sources reported considerable progress but not final agreement on the FDA Saturday, but the partial immunity issue remained problematic.