Legislative Report

Campus ‘free speech’ bill goes to JBE

by Matt Houston, Manship School News Service

Photo by Sarah Gamard/Manship School News Service

The House Tuesday concurred, 95-0, with amendments to a bill that works to ensure college students can choose to hear all speech on campus without interference, however unwelcome the speaker is by other groups.

House Bill 269, authored by Lance Harris, R-Alexandria, requires state institutes of higher education to state their support for the First Amendment and create a system of disciplinary sanctions for students who interfere with freedom of speech.

Additionally, a special subcommittee of the Board of Regents will be appointed to report the status of freedom of speech on Louisiana campuses annually to the Legislature. The schools would have had to inform students of these policies during freshman orientation.

“Freedom of speech seems to be increasingly imperiled,” Harris said during the bill’s House introduction.

The bill comes after the high-profile cancelation of conservative commentator Ann Coulter at the University of California/Berkeley and other national incident due to threats of violence from students and outsiders.

The bill now moves to the governor for signing into law or a veto.