Democrats Fail in Effort to Defeat Campus Free Speech Bill - Texas Scorecard

The Texas House finally took up legislation to protect free speech on campus and Democrat lawmakers fought hard to derail and dissolve the bill. They failed.

At issue was State Rep. Briscoe Cain’s (R–Deer Park) House Bill 2100, an omnibus free speech protection bill to protect the First Amendment rights of citizens on college campuses.

The bill, significantly stronger than similar legislation unanimously passed out of the Texas Senate last month, was the topic of over an hour’s worth of debate. Democrat members offered up nearly 10 different amendments to water down the bill, allowing universities to continue their roughshod over the rights of students and faculty members who don’t toe the line of political correctness or liberal talking points on current events and political topics.

Cain opposed nearly all of those amendments, and they were defeated by close to party-line votes.

He did, however, accept an amendment by Democrat State Rep. Terry Canales (Edinburg), who fought against members of his own party to help Cain strengthen the legislation.

HB 2100 is similar to Senate Bill 18 by State Sen. Joan Huffman (R–Houston), but not identical. If passed, the bill would require universities to adopt policies on their campus protecting the speech of students and faculty and would statutorily protect student organizations seeking to bring speakers to campus.

That issue has been at the forefront of the public eye following a series of campus organizations and speakers being shut down or prevented from having events on campuses, most of which are predominantly conservative in the nature of their speech’s content. Cain himself was forced to leave an event on a university campus in Houston in 2017.

The bill passed its vote on second reading, still intact, with 82 ayes and 59 nays. HB 2100 will be brought up for third reading and final passage tomorrow before it is sent to the Senate.