The Corner


Jim Butler’s West Virginia Campus Free Speech Act

(Charles Mostoller/Reuters)

Campus free-speech bills continue to be filed in an ever-expanding number of states. News reports barely keep up with these legislative proposals, often missing them altogether. Now West Virginia House of Delegates member Jim Butler has filed House Bill 4203, based on the model campus free-speech bill published by Arizona’s Goldwater Institute. (I co-authored that model along with Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher.)

Goldwater-based bills are more comprehensive than others, dealing with issues like discipline for students who shout down visiting speakers, and the creation of an independent oversight system to monitor the administrative handling of free speech. These and other critical issues covered by the Goldwater model are often neglected by other proposals.

Delegate Butler has been a leader on education issues in West Virginia for some time. In 2016, Butler shepherded legislation paring back Common Core in West Virginia through both houses. Now Butler has assembled an impressive group of ten co-sponsors for his campus free speech bill.

I’ve announced the introduction of Goldwater-based bills in the 2018 legislative session in Georgia, Missouri, and Arizona, and haven’t yet gotten to several others already filed or about to be filed. Stay tuned for news on the fast-growing movement for comprehensive legislation protecting campus free speech.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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