Free speech drives innovation and progress in Montana’s universities. Lawmakers are now considering H.B. 735, the Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act, which would protect First Amendment rights on campus.
Specifically, the bill would:
- Protect the right of all people to engage in lawful expression.
- Eliminate restrictive “free speech zones.”
- Empower students to understand their free speech rights/responsibilities.
- Enable individuals both on and off campus to fully understand how each university facilitates free expression by making public their guidelines .
- Allow alleged victims to bring a cause of action for violation of their free speech rights.
- Confirms existing First Amendment protections in state law, clarifying expectations for all parties.
- Provide access to state courts. Although students can file a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court, federal courts take more time and are more costly for students and our institutions. State courts, especially with the issues simplified by this legislation, will process the claims more quickly and more cost effectively.
- Protect universities. The legislature will be taking a stand with our Montana universities that are working to protect freedom of speech on their campuses.
- Freedom of speech is necessary to an open society. Our universities are critical to ensuring that the next generation embraces this important freedom. This legislation will ensure that Montana universities are among the leaders in promoting free expression.
Tell Gov. Bullock to support the FORUM Act, today!