As a state legislator, protecting student speech and due process rights on college campuses has been a priority of mine. I have sponsored multiple pieces of legislation defending students’ freedom of association and other fundamental rights. The erosion of our First Amendment rights can have far reaching, generational impacts for our whole society, which is why it is so important to guard against encroachments of those rights.
In 2018, I partnered with Senator Jim Dabakis to pass a resolution emphasizing the importance of civil liberties on our public college campuses. Many have noted that I am as Republican as they come, and Senator Dabakis is as Democratic as they come. However, fundamental civil liberties, such as free speech and the right to due process, are a non-partisan value and the essence of our American free society.
Recently, I successfully spearheaded changing a long-held exemption to having an open and public process for administrative rule-making for higher education institutions. Traditionally, only our prisons, state mental health institutions, and institutions of higher education have held this exemption. Because administrative rules have the force of law and all of the inherent protections of administrative law, it is vital that they be created openly and subject to public feedback. My legislation now requires higher education institutions to undergo the rigorous and transparent rule-making process in cases that involve civil liberties. This is a major victory as most of our higher education institutions have policies that violate the fundamental rights of our students.
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