Governor Abbott Signs Free Speech Legislation For College Campuses

Chris Fox
June 12, 2019 - 7:48 am
UT Austin Campus

RoschetzkyIstockPhoto/GettyImages

AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) - A wave of conservative speakers being blocked from speaking at Texas colleges led Governor Abbott to sign Senate Bill 18 into law.

On Sunday night Abbott tweeted out video signing the legislation that guarantees free speech on college campuses. Abbott said, “I shouldn’t have to do it, the First Amendment guarantees it…now it’s law in Texas.”

Back in October 2017 protesters blocked Texas House Freedom Caucus member Briscoe Cain from speaking at Texas Southern and a month earlier Texas A&M rejected White Nationalist Richard Spencer.

Senate Bill 18 requires academic institutions to have common outdoor areas for expressive activities. It forces schools to only use content-neutral standards when deciding to approve a speaker requested by  student organizations and faculty and it makes it unlawful to deny a student organization registered status due to political, religious, and ideological viewpoints.

The bill also includes disciplinary sanctions for students who interfere with free speech.

State Senator Joan Huffman authored the bill. She says, “It is critical that free speech is protected even if the speech in question is unpopular or contentious.”

The law will take effect on September 1.