Indiana lawmakers send campus free speech bill to governor

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A bill that doubles down on free speech rights at Indiana’s public colleges and universities is headed to the governor’s desk after lawmakers gave their final vote of approval Thursday.

The proposal, authored by Republican Rep. Jack Jordan of Bremen, aims to codify the First Amendment and U.S. Supreme Court precedents into Indiana law, which Jordan said should guide college campus policies and ensure that free speech applies equally for all students.

All colleges and universities would be required to make those “protected expressive activity policies” accessible in student handbooks, on the school’s website and during any student orientation programs.

The bill also prohibits campuses from designating areas where free speech is not permitted, or from denying benefits and privileges to certain student organizations, regardless of “religious, political, or ideological” beliefs.

Colleges can still restrict the “reasonable time, place and manner” of free speech, however. Jordan said that means that while free speech is allowed, the time can be restricted.

If signed into law by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, the measure would go into effect on July 1. Holcomb could also let the bill pass into law without his signature or veto it.

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4 thoughts on “Indiana lawmakers send campus free speech bill to governor

    1. Free speech should always be a priority! It’s the 1st amendment for a reason…..

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

  1. Actually, Brian, the First Amendment is only the 1st amendment because the original first amendment wasn’t ratified. Otherwise the current First Amendment would have been the 2nd Amendment. The Founders didn’t put them in the order of importance.

    While such a law would seem to be unneeded because the First Amendment applies to those colleges and universities, the fact is many of those institutions have to be dragged into court to stop infringing on students’ free speech rights. A law that codifies those federal constitutional principles would further emphasize to those colleges and universities that they need to follow the law. It’s not a bad bill for that reason.