BREAKING NEWS: AZ Lawmakers Protect Free Speech and Religious Freedom on College Campuses

Arizona lawmakers have sent to Governor Ducey CAP-supported HB 2563, further protecting free speech and religious freedom rights in our state universities and community colleges.

A college campus is intended to be a place where ideas are freely shared, not gagged. HB 2563 protects this cornerstone of higher education — the ability of students to freely participate in the marketplace of ideas on campus. The bill encourages our future leaders to appreciate diverse opinions and engage in constructive debate, rather than simply shutting down ideas they disagree with.

The Senate passed HB 2563 with a vote of 17-13 and the House passed the bill with a vote of 34-23. The bill now goes to Governor Ducey for his consideration.

In the last seven years, Arizona law has been updated twice with CAP-supported legislation to protect First Amendment rights for students by prohibiting restrictive speech zones and protecting freedom of association in our state universities and community colleges. However, in light of recent free speech violations on college campuses throughout the country, more needed to be done.

Sponsored by Rep. Paul Boyer, HB 2563 protects First Amendment rights in several ways, including:

  • Clarifying the free speech rights of those present on the campus of a public university and community college, and the limited type of speech that colleges may restrict.
  • Requiring the Arizona Board of Regents and each community college district to develop policies on free expression in line with the bill, with specific requirements and statements on free expression.
  • Requiring 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.

I thank Rep. Boyer, the House and the Senate majorities for championing Free Speech and Religious Freedom in our state’s public universities and community colleges. It has also been a pleasure to work with our friends at Goldwater Institute on this important bill.

Lastly, thank you for partnering with us in our advocacy at the State Capitol. To help continue and further our work, please consider a gift.

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