Louisiana passes bill to protect controversial campus speakers

By Samantha Grant

A free speech bill was finally passed by the Louisiana House on May 24, 2017, allowing controversial guests the ability to speak at public universities.  This bill had previously been rejected.

Louisiana State Representative, Lance Harris, proposed the bill looking to override past restrictions on freedom of speech and expression throughout Louisiana public college campuses.

Harris proposed the bill after many college students reportedly expressed concern about not being allowed to invite provocative guests to address the student body.  Harris also modeled his bill after Arizona’s law prohibiting public schools from controlling the First Amendment.

There was controversy over whether the bill was necessary in the first place.  Contentious commentators such as Milo Yiannopoulos spoke at Louisiana State University last fall and there were no problems with the event, leading some to believe there was no need for the bill.

However, Harris and other supporters of the bill agreed it was important to protect the value of freedom of speech and prevent the ability to control free speech.

The bill passed by a vote of 66 to 29.

 

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