Senate District 19
Andrew O. Brenner
Brenner, McColley Testify on Bill to Strengthen Free Speech on College Campuses
February 28, 2019
COLUMBUS—State Senators Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) and Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) yesterday testified on Senate Bill 40, which aims to strengthen students' rights to freely express their views on college campuses.

The bill protects students' free speech rights on college campuses by requiring public institutions of higher education, and their administrators acting in an official capacity, from taking any action or enforcing any policy that limits or restricts the constitutional right of a student of the campus community to engage in political speech.

"Students should not be afraid that their speech will be squashed by institutions of higher education by restricting students to 'free speech zones' or using chilling tactics on those invited by students to the campus," said Senator Brenner.

During their testimony, Senators McColley and Brenner highlighted four key components of the legislation:

  1. Protects peaceful, expressive activities such as assembly, protests, speeches, distribution of literature, petition circulation, sign display and guest speakers;

  2. Generally bans speech-restricting "free speech zones" on public university campuses;

  3. Expressly rejects enabling conduct that disrupts another individual or group's lawful expression on a college campus; and

  4. Allows for civil action by individuals or student organization against violations of the legislation's provisions.

To view the sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 40, click here. Testimony begins at 52:30 of the archived video. For more information including the bill text and analysis, please click here.

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