Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said the state's Department of Revenue now allows taxpayers to track state income tax return status online or via telephone. The system tells users if their return was received, if it's being processed, if any additional documents are needed, whether it's complete and if a check was issued. The system also alerts users when a refund has been stopped because of an outstanding debt or collection.

The Arkansas House of Representatives approved a bill in early March that would make it a Class B misdemeanor to send unsolicited sexually explicit commercial e-mail, punishable by 90 days in jail, a $500 fine or both. The bill would require all sexually explicit commercial e-mails to include "ADV: ADULT" in the subject line. -- The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

A new partnership between the California Lottery and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) allows Amber Alerts to be transmitted to nearly 20,000 convenience stores, supermarkets and other locations where lottery tickets are sold. The CHP will relay Amber Alert information to the California Lottery, which instantly will post messages on 2,800 terminals, scrolling electronic readouts, 5,600 "Hot Spot" TV monitors and on printed material at lottery ticket outlets.

This fall, Delaware State University (DSU) students and staff will access campus buildings, buy food, borrow library books, check e-mail and ride public transportation with one card. DSU is the first college in the United States to link its identity management system with a transportation system, said officials at Siemens. -- USA Today

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm launched her "executives on loan" program in mid-March. Through the program, business executives volunteer to help the state identify savings through more efficient use of manpower and streamlining of government operations. Volunteers serve full time with the state, while their companies continue to pay them full salaries and benefits.

The Kansas City Public Library, located in Missouri, will use wireless technology when it moves into a larger, renovated facility in early 2004. Wireless network access will be available on all floors of the new building for staff and public, and the library will provide 60 wireless laptops for use during meetings. The technology eventually will spread to all facilities in the library system. -- netConnect

Philadelphia, Pa., will stop paying cell phone bills for about 2,400 city employees, but it will continue to cover the costs of about 300 workers who need cell phones for emergencies. A spokesman for Mayor John Street said the city spent $1 million on 2,700 monthly cell phone bills in the past fiscal year. -- The Philadelphia Inquirer

Westchester County, N.Y., launched a new public service in late February -- a voice response, speech-recognition system that allows county residents to use a telephone to find the lowest prices for gasoline and heating oil.

Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas is proposing a new state agency, the Department of Information and Innovation, to better manage IT in the state. Vermont spends $50 million to $70 million on IT, and the Douglas administration said that expenditure could be reduced. If approved by the Legislature, the agency could be created as early as summer.

Shane Peterson  |  Associate Editor