On Sunday night, June 9, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a campus free speech bill into law despite feeling the need to say that he “shouldn’t have to do it.”
In order to increase the freedom of expression, Senate Bill 18 eliminates free speech zones and similar policies that Texas schools have implemented.
SB 18 was created by Representative Briscoe Cain (R-TX) and swiftly passed through the Texas House and Senate. As shocking as it sounds, the bill obtained Democratic support.
In a Twitter video, the governor said that “some colleges are banning free speech on college campuses, well no more, because I’m about to sign a law that protects free speech on college campuses in Texas.”
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) June 10, 2019
Abbot continued to comment on the purpose of the bill, saying that he “shouldn’t have to do it. The First Amendment guarantees it. Now it’s law in Texas.”
The Governor believes that there should not be a need to pass legislation on a right already guaranteed under the Constitution. However, it has come to the point where it needs to be reinforced in the state of Texas.
The campus free speech bill enforces neutrality standards on all content based decisions when approving a speaker requested by a student organization.
This bill also deems rejecting a student organization registered status due to political, religious, and ideological viewpoints that are also protected under the Constitution.
The bill was inspired by an event that occurred about a month ago at the University of Texas-Austin. During a pro-life speaking speech a “smoke bomb” disrupted an event hosted by the Young Conservatives of Texas.
According to Adam Sabes of Campus Reform, “The university did condemn the incident, and said that ‘all members of the university community and their guests must be able to express their views without interference.’”
Turning Point USA, a nationwide student movement across college campuses, has faced numerous rejections in the state of Texas from universities.
By signing the legislation, not only does the state of Texas uphold the Constitution but it also protects the speech rights of students on campus.