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Wisconsin Assembly Passes Campus Free Speech Bill


Wisconsin's state legislature just passed a bill to protect free speech on campus.

The Campus Free Speech Act (Assembly Bill 299) just passed the Republican-controlled Assembly 61-36 and will now head to the state senate. 

The bill is already receiving a lot of attention regarding its provision that state-run schools expel or otherwise discipline students who attempt to shut down speeches at their universities. This is obviously geared toward preventing another incident like the one that occurred this fall at the University of Wisconsin Madison where a speech by conservative speaker Ben Shapiro was met with screaming protesters. 

However, another portion of the bill aims at protecting student speech against interfering university administrators. Another timely provision ensures that any speaker invited to campus by students and faculty have the ability to come and speak without fear of the administration disinviting them or canceling their event. 

Naturally, representatives are split down party lines. The bill was introduced by Republican Representative Jesse Kremer and co-sponsored by Speaker Robin Vos. Wisconsin's famous Republican governor, Scott Walker, has also expressed his support of the measure. Walker told local media that "the minute you shut down a speaker, no matter whether they are liberal or conservative or somewhere in between, I just think that's wrong." 

Democrats, on the other hand, are not on board. Representative Chris Taylor said the bill "basically gags and bags the first amendment." Left-leaning organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and American Association of University Professors have come out against the bill. 

But no need to worry your "safe spaces" are safe for now. The bill still needs to get through the Wisconsin State senate before it reaches the governors desk. 

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