Virginia Delegate Dave LaRock (R-Clarke, Frederick, and Loudoun Counties) has just filed House Resolution 431, The Campus Free Speech Resolution. HR 431 is based on the model legislation I co-authored with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher of Arizona’s Goldwater Institute.
Since the Virginia House of Delegates is nearing the end of its current session, Delegate LaRock is offering a resolution conveying the sense of the legislature, to be followed up next session by detailed legislation based on the Goldwater model. As Delegate LaRock put it in a press release, “This resolution will put down a marker as a precursor for next session when I will follow up with legislation to assure that universities take this seriously.”
Explaining his reason for taking up the Goldwater proposal on campus free speech, Del. LaRock said, “Virginia is the cradle of democracy and it is a disgrace that many universities have lost track of the idea that it is their responsibility to uphold free-speech principles… By passing this measure we are communicating to universities and the public that students are in school to learn how to think; they are not going to college to be protected from differing opinions.”
Virginia’s HR 431, and Del. LaRock’s promise to follow it next session with fuller legislation based on the Goldwater model, means that Virginia is now the third state to move forward with initiatives based on the Goldwater proposal. North Carolina Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest has announced that a bill will soon be filed in that state, and Illinois Representative Peter Breen has introduced HB 2939. And although no bill has yet been filed, I will be testifying at the request of Education Committee Chair Michael Bileca before the Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee of the Florida State House this Thursday on the Goldwater proposal.
Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org