California, New Jersey Offer Low-Fee Unemployment Cards
By Pamela M. Prah, Staff Writer
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS: Of the 40 states that use prepaid cards instead of paper checks to provide the jobless with unemployment compensation, California and New Jersey offer the best cards with the fewest fees, says a new report . A Tennessee card imposes the largest number of fees, but Arkansas , Idaho , Nebraska , Ohio and Oregon charge jobless recipients the biggest penalties, attaching overdraft fees between $10 and $20, says the National Consumer Law Center. As Stateline reported earlier this year, states' unemployment debit cards often carry hidden costs . Fees on these debit cards largely escaped a recent crackdown by U.S. lawmakers and regulators, The Wall Street Journal explains .
ADOPTIONS: Floridians interested in adopting a foster child can now receive information from the state via Twitter, The Miami Herald reportsSince mid-April, the Florida Department of Children & Families and Governor Rick Scott's office have been tweeting about training sessions and support tools for future adoptive parents to followers of @ExploreAdoption, the Twitter name for the state's adoption program. State officials say an e-mail campaign last November was so successful — 12 Florida children found permanent homes because of it — that they decided to give Twitter a try, according to the Herald.
WELFARE: Nine states and the District of Columbia missed meeting one or both of the work participation goals for welfare recipients in 2009, according to the latest data from the federal government. States that could face financial penalties for not having 50 percent of all welfare families and 90 percent of two-parent families engaged in work activities are Alaska , California , Kentucky , Maine , Missouri , Nevada , Ohio , Oregon and Rhode Island , says the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
HOUSING: Alaska's state agency in charge of helping low-income residents obtain housing says it is shutting down its waiting list for housing vouchers in Anchorage because the list has grown so long it would take more than three years for the last applicant to reach the top of the list, The Anchorage Daily News reports . More than 4,500 people are on the list and the state doesn't want to give people false hopes that they will receive rental assistance.
IMMIGRATION: Georgia has joined Utah and Arizona by enacting a law empowering police to investigate the immigration status of certain suspects, but the measure is likely to face similar legal challenges to those filed against the Utah and Arizona laws, says the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . Meanwhile, a new law in Maryland allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state rates at public colleges while neighboring Virginia requires many to pay higher out-of-state fees, The Los Angeles Times notes. As Stateline reported earlier, the Maryland measure thrusts the state into the center of the national debate over immigration.