Briefs: Robert Novak to sign autobiography at IUB

By Amanda Graf

University alumnus and Washington columnist Robert Novak will be signing his new autobiography at the Illini Union Bookstore, 809 S. Wright St., from 3 to 4 p.m. on Sept. 13.

“The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington” chronicles a half-century of Novak’s career as a reporter and commentator, including his role in the Valerie Plame CIA leak scandal. Novak graduated with a B.A. from the University in 1952 and has endowed a scholarship fund for the English Department. Novak’s newspaper column is syndicated by the Chicago Sun-Times, and he contributes to FOX News Channel.

Legislation clarifies specialty license plates

Gov. Rod Blagojevich approved legislation clarifying who has the authority to issue specialty license plates in Illinois.

A federal trial court ruled that the Secretary of State can issue plates without the approval of the General Assembly. The case is now on appeal, but the new legislation clarifies the Secretary of State may only issue specialty license plates with the approval of the General Assembly and signature of the governor.

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    Secretary of State Jesse White applauded the decision, saying his office has maintained that only the General Assembly can approve these plates.

    New law aims to increase state’s bicycle safety

    Gov. Blagojevich signed into law a legislation that aims to protect bicyclists by requiring drivers to maintain a minimum distance of three feet between a vehicle and a bicycle.

    “By clarifying a safe distance between bikes and cars, we hope this promotes a sense of safety and security for cyclists,” said Sen. Edward Maloney, D-Chicago, the bill’s sponsor.

    Supporters of the legislation said many motorists are unaware of the minimum safe-passing clearance or intentionally pass too closely to harass cyclists.

    Remedial requirements aim to prepare new students

    A new law allows state universities to require students to complete remedial coursework before pursuing their major course of study.

    “Ensuring college students are well prepared for their major is essential to keeping students involved, interested and prepared for their classes,” said Sen. Edward Maloney, D-Chicago, who initiated the legislation.

    Recent studies show a rising number of high school graduates are not equipped to handle college-level coursework. Sen. Maloney said he hopes the law will give students the confidence to pursue their major of choice, regardless of the difficulty level.

    Compiled by Amanda Graf