On a second go-around the Louisiana House late Wednesday approved legislation to ensure the free speech of controversial speakers on state college campuses and to penalize students who disrupt it.
Rep. Lance Harris, who sponsored House Bill 269, shut down debate and asked for a vote without giving a closing statement. The House approved HB269 on a vote of 66 to 29 within minutes.
The House had been in session for about six hours and still had much on the day’s agenda left when Harris called his bill from the calendar.
The Alexandria Republican and House Majority Leader said the measure had been thoroughly debated last week when it was defeated 46 to 34. No further discussion was needed, he said.
Legislation touted as a way to prevent controversial speakers from being shouted down at Lou…
House rules allow members to seek another vote if their measure has majority of votes but fails to reach the number necessary for passage – 53 in the cases of bills like this one.
The legislation would direct colleges and university management boards to spell out policies that would prevent students, outside speakers or others from being shouted down because of unpopular views.
Those policies would have to make clear that "it is not the proper role of an institution to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution ... including without limitation ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive," according to the bill.
Similar bills are being sponsored by conservative legislators in other states.
No disruptions of free speech have been reported on Louisiana’s public school campuses. But Harris pointed to instances in which controversial conservatives have not been allowed to speak, such as happened recently at the University of California at Berkeley.
A bill aimed at ensuring free speech on Louisiana campuses, and penalizing students who disr…
The measure now goes to the state Senate for consideration. The legislative session must adjourn on June 8.