Yesterday with a 34-22 vote, the Arizona House of Representatives passed HB 2563, a bill introduced by Representative Paul Boyer and supported by Center for Arizona Policy (CAP) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). This bill ensures that Free Speech and by extension Religious Freedom are protected in Arizona’s public universities and community colleges.

Across the nation, a growing number of students’ free speech rights on college campuses have been curtailed by administrators and other students. In the last seven years, two CAP-supported bills prohibiting restrictive speech zones and protecting freedom of association have become law. However, more needs to be done.

HB 2563 clarifies the free speech rights of people on the campus of a public university and community college. It requires the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) and each community college district to develop policies on free expression in line with this bill, with specific requirements and statements on free expression. It also requires these entities to form committees on free expression that will provide annual reports to the Governor and the Legislature concerning free expression incidents on their campuses.

Universities and colleges are supposed to be places where ideas are freely shared, not gagged. This bill will encourage our future leaders to appreciate diverse opinions and engage in constructive debate, rather than simply shutting down ideas they disagree with.

Access CAP’s Fact Sheet on HB 2563 on our bill tracker.

In other good news, to date no bills restricting religious freedom or other First Amendment rights have received a hearing or been debated.

 

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