College Free Speech Bill Vetoed By Governor Edwards
As Americans, we all enjoy the freedom to express our ideas and beliefs publicly. Sometimes that expression is greeted with enthusiastic support. Sometimes the ideas we profess to be good are met with scrutiny. The bottom line is that we are guaranteed a right to express those beliefs just as others are guaranteed rights to make up their own minds about the validity of our stance.
Yesterday Governor Edwards vetoed a piece of legislation that would have created a protocol for a speaker wishing to express controversial ideas on a university campus in Louisiana. The Governor suggested in his comments that this legislation was a solution in search of a problem.
The sponsor of the legislation, Representative Lance Harris felt that the state needed a planned response in the event that protesters attempted to mitigate an individual's freedom of expression in a university-sponsored forum. That's a pretty valid point too.
So who is right? In my mind they both are. I do think Representative Harris' idea that a planned publish protocol in the event of protests over a controversial subject or speaker lets everyone know where the rights of the speaker and the rights of the protesters begin and end.
I believe Governor Edwards position that legislation of this kind simply adds a layer of confusion to a right that is already spelled out in our Constitution. It's like adding a tambourine to a Garth Brooks song. You can do it but you don't really have to do it.
Since the Governor has the last word, I guess he wins this round. However, I am not sure it's much of a victory since nothing would have really been changed if either point of view had prevailed.
It's discussion and debate about problems that don't exist or that have already been solved that keep Louisiana moving forward I guess. It's a good thing sarcasm is protected by the Constitution, isn't it?