Ohio House Bill 758 is a Free Speech bill for college campuses. It’s being sponsored in the Ohio House of Representatives by Representatives Andrew Brenner and Representative Niraj Antani. On Wednesday November 13th, commentator Ben Shapiro testified in front of the House Education and Workforce Development Committee in favor of the bill to extend Free Speech rights on public universities within the buckeye state.
This bill outlines new rules for public universities when engaging with speech. It defines what activities hinder expression of First Amendment rights on public universities within Ohio. Legal barriers to blocking people from attending Free Speech events or participating within them are also outlined, “(b) Physically blocking or using threats of violence to prevent any person from attending, listening to, viewing, or otherwise participating in an expressive activity….”
A core component of this bill is preventing university officials from using their position to prevent campus activities: “Sec. 3345. 0212. (A) No state institution of higher education, or any of its administrations acting in their official capacity, shall prohibit any individual from engaging in noncommercial expressive activity on campus….” This section goes into ensuring that said act is lawful and does not disrupt “the functioning of the institution.” Many student groups have had issues with administrative officials trying to create additional roadblocks for their speaking events.
Ben Shapiro came to Ohio to speak at The Ohio State University apart of Young Americans’ Foundation’s speaking tour. Before speaking, he testified in favor of the bill then answered questions at a press conference at the Statehouse. Shapiro fielded questions about his experiences on college campuses to different aspects of the bill up for debate. Shapiro mentioned in a press conference that administrations would be held responsible if students are hurt by protesters attempting to listen to a speech by this bill.
As the Ohio legislature goes into session this bill will continue to be debated before an eventual vote. Shapiro is standing with the sponsors to show the importance of protecting Free Speech nationwide on public universities.
This article uses quotes directly from the legislation text, which can be found here.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.