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Blagojevich Signs College & Crime Laws

By AP/KWMU/IL Public Radio

Champaign, Ill. – Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has signed legislation restricting tuition increases at all state universities.

The "Truth in Tuition" measure sponsored by Chicago Democrat Kevin Joyce will freeze a state university student's tuition rate at the first-year level.

Blagojevich says the measure will bring stability to the cost of a college education. "The tuition that a student and his or her parents pay as a freshman ought to be the tuition that student pays as a senior," Blagojevich said. "That's exactly what Representative Joyce's bill does."

The bill takes effect in the 2004-05 school year. Under another bill signed by the governor, state appropriations to public universities will be by specific line items, rather than the lump sum procedure used since 1999.

"Line item budgeting means we can take a close look at how we spend your money - the taxpayer's money - and find new ways to save money and new ways to reinvest that money."

Blagojevich signed the bills at the University of Illinois in Urbana, the first stop on Day Two of his bus tour of east-central Illinois.

He later signed legislation meant to reduce identity theft. Starting in 2005, sales receipts cannot print out the full number of a credit card or its expiration date.

Another measure lets banks set up warning systems on ATM machines. People who are being forced to withdraw money would simply enter their PIN number backwards, which would still spit out the money but also alert police. Banks are not required to adopt the new technology.

Other bills Governor Rod Blagojevich signed will:

* Let victims of violent crime call a toll-free number to provide information to the Prisoner Review Board when their attackers are up for parole. The board expects that to cost more than $50,000 dollars a year.

* Require people convicted of making methamphetamine to reimburse local governments for the cost of cleaning up the manufacturing site. The sites are often contaminated with toxic chemicals.

* Make it illegal to produce fake college diplomas for profit or to use fake degrees to get a job or a raise.