News & Politics

Democratic Governor of Louisiana Vetoes Campus Free Speech Bill

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2017 file photo, University of California, Berkeley police guard the building where Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos was to speak. The campus is bracing for a showdown next week, when the conservative provocateur Ann Coulter has vowed to speak in defiance of the university's wishes. Officials, police and the campus Republicans who invited Coulter, say there are valid concerns for violence in what is being called an ongoing "Battle of Berkeley." (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Despite numerous recent examples of Leftist protesters — via shouting, intimidation, or violence — shutting down the free speech of people expressing ideas they don’t like, the governor of Louisiana doesn’t seem to think a bill to combat this epidemic is needed.

From The Daily Caller:

John Bel Edwards, the Democratic governor of Louisiana, decried the bill as a “solution in search of a problem,” according to Campus Reform. House Bill 269 had previously passed the Louisiana Senate by a 30-3 vote, and the State House of Representatives with a unanimous vote.

“This bill is a solution in search of a problem that creates a long, detailed structure for the evaluation of the freedom of expression on college campuses,” said Edwards in a statement regarding his decision. “However, this bill is unnecessary and overly burdensome to our colleges and universities as the freedoms this bill attempts to protect are already well-established by the bedrock principles” in both the state and national constitution.

The bill would have ensured that universities afforded “any person lawfully present on a campus” the right to political speech, so long as it was not disruptive. HB 269 also mandated a disciplinary hearing and allowed for potential punishment for those who impeded free speech.

Maybe Edwards doesn’t pay attention to the news, or maybe he just doesn’t care because Democrats aren’t being intimidated and attacked.

State lawmakers are now hoping to pin the governor down on exactly what his issue with the bill is, so they can introduce a modified legislation that he’ll be more likely to sign. Somehow, I can’t help but feel that will be a fool’s errand. Despite all the examples of violence, speakers being blocked, and the overwhelming atmosphere of intimidation on campuses across the country towards non-Leftist thought, Edwards doesn’t seem to feel there’s a problem. Either this is partisan hackery or willful ignorance. Or both.

The truth is that an alarming number of Americans now feel completely justified in denying someone’s opportunity to speak in a public venue by any means necessary. Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro, and Charles Murray were the big names targeted, but untold thousands of professors and students are tiptoeing through campus with targets on their back.

There shouldn’t be a need for free speech laws beyond the Constitution, but here we are.