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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston

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In this July 16, 2012, photo, Laura Fritz, 27, left, with her daughter Adalade Goudeseune fills out a form at the Jefferson Action Center, an assistance center in the Denver suburb of Lakewood. Both Fritz grew up in the Denver suburbs a solidly middle class family, but she and her boyfriend, who has struggled to find work, and are now relying on government assistance to cover food and $650 rent for their family. The ranks of America's poor are on track to climb to levels unseen in nearly half a century, erasing gains from the war on poverty in the 1960s amid a weak economy and fraying government safety net. Census figures for 2011 will be released this fall in the critical weeks ahead of the November elections. (AP Photo/Kristen Wyatt)

North Carolina Drug Testing Welfare Applicants

Starting late last year, North Carolina began issuing drug tests to new applicants for certain state welfare benefits. Now the state is reporting that 24 percent of the first batch of applicants tested came up positive for illegal drugs.

REUTERS/Larry Downing

As State Budget Sinks, Illinois Democrats Float Bill to Make Obama’s Birthday a State Holiday

Illinois still doesn’t have a budget, the state has practically defaulted on millions in payments to service providers, can’t even pay its lottery winners, but state Democrats have introduced a bill that would make Barack Obama’s birthday a “state holiday” — meaning state workers would have yet another paid holiday added to their generous benefits.