Free speech drives innovation, learning, and progress in Montana’s universities.
Lawmakers are now considering HB 218, which would protect First Amendment rights on campus.
Specifically, HB 218 would:
Protect the right of all people to engage in lawful expression.
Bans “free speech zones.”
Require public universities to inform students of their free speech rights.
Allow alleged victims to bring a cause of action for violation of their free speech rights even after they have graduated. Closing the so-called “graduation loophole.”
Confirms existing First Amendment protections in state law, clarifying expectations for all parties.
Forbids discrimination of students group by the administration
Requires the universities to report to the legislature any violations of free speech rights.
Provide access to state courts. Although students can file a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court, federal courts take more time and are more costly for students and our institutions.
State courts, especially with the issues simplified by this legislation, will process the claims more quickly and more cost-effectively.
Protect universities. The legislature will be taking a stand with our Montana universities that are working to protect freedom of speech on their campuses.
Freedom of speech is necessary to an open society. Our universities are critical to ensuring that the next generation embraces this important freedom.
Urge your lawmakers to support HB 218!