Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a ban on so-called ‘free speech zones,’ which universities and colleges have used to limit the exercise of free speech on their campuses.
Who would have thought that Florida would be concerned with Constitutional rights after recently passing a gun law raising the age to purchase firearms to the age of 21?
By signing SB 4 into law, Governor Scott made Florida the ninth state to protect freedom of speech on college campuses by preventing higher education institutions from limiting it to ‘free speech zones.’
The new law prohibits Florida public colleges and universities from quarantining student expression into small, misleadingly labeled “free speech zones.” The campus free speech provisions are based on the CAFE Act model legislation from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
“Students at public colleges and universities in Florida should not have their free speech quarantined by overly restrictive policies,” said FIRE Legislative and Policy Director Joe Cohn. “Now that Florida’s Campus Free Expression Act is law, these egregious policies of censorship must be rescinded immediately.”
Generation Opportunity, a pro-free market organization geared to Millennials, applauded the Florida legislature’s decision to pass the bill into law. As the organization’s Florida Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor said:
“Attempting to limit the First Amendment rights of students by tucking them into the hidden corners of campus is not only unconstitutional but goes against the very concept of what a college education should be about…”
“College is a place where young people go to learn new ideas and challenge concepts on their merits, but that dialogue will never occur if free expression is not openly permitted on campus.”
Initially, an early version of the bill was tabled in committee, and was at risk of not passing in the current legislative session. But a last-minute push to get the bill to the floor was successful.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 23rd, 2018