GOP proposal would ban ‘free speech zones’ on state campuses

COLUMBUS (AP) — The creation of so-called “free speech zones” designated for protests and demonstrations would be prohibited at Ohio’s public college campuses under legislation introduced by two Republican lawmakers, who say it’s aimed at protecting free speech.

The bill was proposed by Reps. Niraj Antani, of Miamisburg, and Andrew Brenner, of Powell, who leads the Ohio House education committee. Antani argues that the use of “free speech zones” actually restricts speech and unfairly limits students expressing views that are conservative and anti-abortion.

Conservative advocacy groups have challenged the use of such zones, citing First Amendment rights. Similar proposals to block campuses from designating such areas have popped up at legislatures around the nation, including this year in Florida and Kansas.