The Georgia Senate passed a bill Monday banning free speech zones on public campuses, effectively making free speech legal in all campus locations. If Governor Brian Kemp signs off, the state’s public institutions will be prohibited from disrupting legal free speech anywhere on campus—though they can place limits on the time, place and nature of protests, The Georgia Recorder reported.
“House Bill 1 will protect and clarify the First Amendment rights our students should enjoy on our public colleges and universities,” said Republican state senator Bruce Thompson. “The bill seeks to accomplish this in two ways, first, by protecting what students may say, second, protecting where they can exercise free speech.”
Democrats fear the bill could end up stifling free speech by making it more difficult for students to hold a counterprotest against a speaker who offends them.
Democratic senator Elena Parent accused Republicans of being hypocritical by supporting free speech on campus while trying to prohibit the teaching of “divisive concepts.”
“The majority party is eager to censor left-wing views or speech while trying to bolster right-wing speech,” Parent said.