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From House Republicans:

College campuses used to be generally understood as places that welcomed the free exchange of ideas, unfortunately that has significantly changed in the past several years.  Free speech zones, arbitrary restrictions on student funded groups, banning of speakers, and the removal of signs have all become common place on college campuses.

The House and Senate worked on Senate File 274 in an effort to curb campus policies that unconstitutionally restrict free speech.  What should have been a bill with bipartisan support in the Iowa House turned into an unambiguous example of how far left House Democrats have surged. The bill passed the House 52-44 without a single Democrat supporting free speech on campus.

SF 274 is a straightforward bill that prohibits public universities and community colleges from adopting  so-called speech codes that violate the First Amendment.  Speech codes often seek to ban speech that some students and school leaders deem unacceptable.  Speech codes simply ban free expression from those with witch the power brokers on campus disagree.  With the bill, public universities and community colleges in Iowa  will be required to add policies that acknowledge intellectual freedom and free expression are essential on campus.

The bill is in response to an unconstitutional policy at the University of Iowa.  As a result, language in the bill explicitly extends First Amendment protections to student groups.  The bill also prevents a campus from having limited free speech zones in outdoor areas.  Even with the bill, schools can still implement reasonable time, place and manner restrictions to activities, including assemblies, protests, speeches, petitions and recordings.

Instead of a debate regarding the merits of free speech, civility and respect , it predictably turned into a two hour lecture from House Democrats filled with insinuations and smears about Nazism and racism aimed at Republicans.  Which was strange considering the bill actually received bipartisan support in the Iowa Senate.  Regardless, the bill now heads to the Governor’s office for her signature.


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