California Republicans Try to Undo Campus Free Speech Restrictions

Free Speech ProtestCalifornia’s increased crackdown on free speech on several of its college campuses has pushed several Republicans, and even some Democrats, to push back.

Bill Nielsen, a 72-year-old Republican cattle farmer, and Nicolas Tomas, a 26-year-old vegan Democrat, have joined forces. According to the Los Angeles Times, Nielsen has proposed a bill that would “reaffirm that outdoor spaces on campus are public forums. Institutions would only be able to impose reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of speech, such as barring demonstrations with bullhorns in front of the library during finals week.” The Times adds, “School policies would also need to allow for spontaneous assembly and distribution of literature, so students can react to breaking news events.”

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore), is called the Campus Free Speech Act. It would prevent schools from disinviting speakers because thy are “controversial” and would reportedly establish disciplinary action for anyone who infringes on the free speech right of others.

“You’re not allowed to just disinvite people because they’re controversial,” Melendez told the Times. “You can’t have mob rule.”

Earlier this month, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed the eight page Campus Free Speech Protection Act into law, making the “Volunteer State” on the first to pass legislation designed to stem the assault on free speech at its public universities.

Breitbart News previously reported:

The law mandates that public colleges and universities in Tennessee adopt free speech policies consistent with the University of Chicago’s 2015 Stone Report. Chaired by Chicago Law Professor Geoffrey Stone, the report’s findings were adopted last year to great fanfare. Despite his emphasis on campus free speech, Professor Stone is hardly a right-wing ideologue. He clerked with archliberal Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, chaired the Board of the American Constitution Society, a leading lefty-leaning lawyers’ association, and served on the National Advisory Council of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Meanwhile, the University of California has reportedly estimated that enforcing Nielsen’s measure could add millions of dollars of costs for administrative, security and legal fees to the system.

However, Joe Cohn, the legislative director at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), told the Times that argument was bogus. “The idea that the bill will add costs to the state is silly on its face,” Cohn reportedly said. They already have this same liability and same legal obligation, regardless or not if the bill passes.”

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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