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Lee newswire

SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation Monday requiring medical schools to perform criminal background checks on prospective students.

The law, which takes effect immediately, requires new medical school students to undergo fingerprinting and have the Illinois State Police check their past for violent felonies like murder.

During floor debate in November, state Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, the measure's sponsor, argued potentially violent medical students could easily come into contact with the public.

"When going to medical school, you are in contact with the public. As an intern, you are in the hospital," said Kelly, who noted the investigations will be nationwide.

Committing crimes doesn't bar people from becoming doctors, but the new law protects schools from lawsuits if the background check leads to a candidate being turned down.

Medical schools can charge students for the investigation. The proposal has the support of the University of Illinois and Southern Illinois University medical schools.

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