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Assembly to OK punishments for disrupting campus speeches

Posted: 9:21 AM, Feb 11, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-11 10:21:37-05
protest file photo

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican lawmakers continued their drive Tuesday to punish students who disrupt conservative speakers on college campuses, scheduling an Assembly vote on a bill that calls for suspensions and expulsions after multiple incidents.

Under the bill, students who disrupt another’s free speech on University of Wisconsin System campuses twice would be suspended. Three-time offenders would be expelled.

The GOP introduced the same bill last session after protests disrupted conservative speakers on college campuses around the country, including conservative commentator Ben Shapiro’s appearance at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in November 2016.

That bill died in the Senate, but regents adopted an identical punishment policy in 2017. It hasn’t gone into effect yet as system officials draft regulations implementing it. The regents have scheduled a March 5 public hearing on the final version of the regulations.

The Assembly was set to vote on the bill Tuesday afternoon. The measure appears doomed, though. Even if it gets through the Senate this time Democratic Gov. Tony Evers looks set to veto it. He cast the lone vote against the system policy when he was serving as a regent in 2017 and vowed in October to kill any regulations implementing it.