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Kentucky Lawmakers Fight for Campus Free Speech

Kentucky’s universities should be bastions of protection for the market place of ideas.

-Savannah Maddox

Two Kentucky state legislators have filed a bill in the state House to “protect the First Amendment rights of college students." Representatives Savannah Maddox and Kim Banta filed the bill in hopes of further protecting public college students’ rights to express freely. Maddox sponsored the Kentucky Campus Free Speech Protection Act that passed the General Assembly in 2019. and hopes that BR 1095 will add additional protections.

The bill is designed to prevent university censorship in matters of off-campus and online speech. The bill would also provide equal access to university facilities to religious and political organizations, further protect students and faculty who express freely on campus, and protect the general public’s rights to free speech on campus grounds at public universities. According to Maddox, defending the First Amendment rights of every American has always been a top priority for her.

BR 1095 also goes a step further, requiring universities to publicly publish on their websites the allocation of student fees. This measure is included to provide a level of transparency that’s not currently available at the university level across the country. The law would allow lawmakers to hold educational institutions accountable for indoctrination.

I will say it until I am blue in the face: Freedom of speech is universally important. It’s unwise to censor students at the university level who are paying thousands of dollars to receive a proper higher education. A proper education requires the marketplace of ideas. Our students across America are being taught that there’s only one virtuous school of thought, and that’s simply not the case. They preach socialism as if it’s a proven, viable economic system while demanding an end to capitalism, which is actually a proven, viable economic system.

Oftentimes I take the stance that government should not get involved, but censorship at public colleges and universities is not being addressed otherwise. I support Maddox’s and Banta’s legislation because it reflects the principles embedded in the First Amendment. They’re not creating a new idea— they’re protecting a right that has existed since our Constitution became the law of the land. Public tax dollars are used to fund public universities and colleges, so I agree that taxpayers should have a say in how our freedom is being treated.

Maddox was first elected to represent Kentucky’s 61st district in 2019. She has filed for re-election, and I encourage anyone in her district, or Kentucky in general, to research what she’s about. She has been one of the strongest voices against COVID-19 restrictions and always votes in favor of protection our Constitutional rights. I am happy to see candidates in support of liberty who are taking on the cause of protecting the principles of free speech. Maddox, in particular, wasted no time and sponsored the Kentucky Campus Free Speech Protection Act during her first term.

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