Education

Louisiana Governor Vetoes ‘Overly Burdensome’ Campus Free Speech Bill

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter

The Louisiana governor vetoed a campus free speech bill Tuesday, suggesting that guaranteeing free speech rights for students would be “overly burdensome.”

John Bel Edwards, the Democratic governor of Louisiana, decried the bill as a “solution in search of a problem,” according to Campus Reform. House Bill 269 had previously passed the Louisiana Senate by a 30-3 vote, and the State House of Representatives with a unanimous vote.

“This bill is a solution in search of a problem that creates a long, detailed structure for the evaluation of the freedom of expression on college campuses,” said Edwards in a statement regarding his decision. “However, this bill is unnecessary and overly burdensome to our colleges and universities as the freedoms this bill attempts to protect are already well-established by the bedrock principles” in both the state and national constitution.

The bill would have ensured that universities afforded “any person lawfully present on a campus” the right to political speech, so long as it was not disruptive. HB 269 also mandated a disciplinary hearing and allowed for potential punishment for those who impeded free speech.

“Freedom of speech is under siege on college campuses around the country,” Republican Louisiana Rep. Lance Harris told US News & World Report. “I’m going to be looking at different versions. I hope I can visit with the governor and see what he didn’t like about this one.”

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