In the wake of President Trump’s executive order mandating free speech on college campuses, the state of Kentucky passed a law recently banning free speech zones on all state university campuses.

According to The College Fix, “Kentucky’s bill opens all outdoor areas to student speech and empowers students to take legal actions against the university if the law’s requirements are not followed.”

The bill states that all state universities must “[protect] the fundamental and constitutional right of all students and faculty to freedom of expression,” and that the public institutions must grant students and faculty “the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, learn, and discuss any issue.”

Just as Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk advocates, the bill calls for institutions to make their grounds a “marketplace of ideas” where there is a freedom to exchange ideas.

Kentucky legislators made clear that ideas may not be suppressed simply because an idea put forth is considered “to be offensive, unwise, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, or radical.”

“It also protects a student’s religious or political viewpoint in the classroom, forbidding discrimination or penalties on a student’s work for its political or religious content,” reports The College Fix. 

What’s interesting about this specific bill is that it prohibits institutions from charging speaking fees to the students or clubs that invite guest speakers:

“Students are not charged fees based on the content of their speech, the content of the speech of guest speakers invited by students, or the anticipated reaction or opposition of listeners to the speech.”

This bill was sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Maddox (R-KY), in the House, and Sen. Will Schroder (R-KY), in the Senate.

Kentucky is following in the footsteps of many other states. South Dakota recently signed a bill into law stating that all public, outdoor areas on every state university are areas of free speech. Tennessee and Colorado did the same in 2017. Iowa and Arkansas passed similar laws over the past few months.

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