Ohio free speech bill would protect campus speakers, punish disr - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Ohio free speech bill would protect campus speakers, punish disrupters

Statehouse in Columbus (Source: Honavery, Wikipedia) Statehouse in Columbus (Source: Honavery, Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A Republican proposal in Ohio seeks to protect speakers' appearances at Ohio colleges and calls on campuses to punish students who disrupt them.

State Reps. Wesley Goodman, of Cardington, and Andrew Brenner, of Powell, announced the Campus Free Speech Act Tuesday.

It would restrict creation of campus "free speech zones" and require colleges to establish sanctions for students who interfere with "the free expression of others." Campuses could be sued if someone feels First Amendment rights were restricted. The measure also prohibits universities from disinviting certain speakers because of protests.

Similar bills are emerging around the country, as conservatives react to recent decisions by universities to cancel certain speakers for fear of violent protests. Opponents worry such bills are too far-reaching.

Cincinnati-based Citizens for Community Values backs Ohio's bill.

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