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NATIONAL BRIEFS


ALABAMA: Plight of fearful immigrants

Terrified by Alabama's new immigration crackdown, parents living in the state illegally say they are doing something that was unthinkable just days ago -- asking friends, relatives, co-workers and acquaintances to take their children if they're arrested or deported. Many of them have signed power of attorney documents allowing others to care for their children, if needed, assistance groups say, and a couple living illegally in Shelby County, near Birmingham, extracted a promise from the man's boss to send their three young children, all U.S. citizens, to Mexico should they be jailed under the law. A key sponsor of the measure, state Sen. Scott Beason, wonders whether the families' stories are designed to "pull on heart strings" and build sympathy for the undocumented. Social worker Jazmin Rivera helps dozens of immigrants fill out paperwork weekly, many asking friends and others to care for their children.


FLORIDA: Health insurance alternative

Florida, which is fighting to overturn the federal health overhaul, is preparing to launch an insurance marketplace next year that looks like a distant cousin of the ones being created under the federal law. Florida's version aims to give businesses with 50 or fewer employees an online tool to shop for health plans offered in their county. The idea, backers say, is to entice employers who otherwise wouldn't offer coverage. Florida will be the third state, and by far the largest, with an insurance exchange, after Massachusetts and Utah.


WISCONSIN: 2 charged in relative's death

A woman and her son are facing charges more than two years after investigators say they left a relative to die in their home. Veronica King, 71, and son Steven, 45, are due in court Monday in Madison on charges of reckless homicide in the death of Veronica King's sister, Mary Coleman. The two are charged with fraud for collecting Coleman's pension and Social Security after her death. Coleman's mummified remains were found in the garage in August 2009.

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