College press freedom bill passes Illinois Senate

State senatorsunanimously approved a bill March 15 that would limitpublic college and university officials from censoring studentnewspapers.

The bill, called the College Campus Press Act, designates allpublic college and community college publications in the state as public forumsfor student expression, effectively negating the 2005 Seventh U.S. Circuit Courtof Appeals decision in Hosty v. Carter. According to that ruling, publiccollege administrators in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin can impose priorreview and restraint on student newspapers if the publication is not adesignated public forum.
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SPLCView: It would certainly be fitting that the state that gave us theHosty decision would be one of the first in the country to try and undothe damage. This bill appears to be moving through the Illinois legislature at afast clip and with strong support on both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers haveseemingly recognized the serious danger to free speech posed by Hosty onits state college and university campuses and are trying to fill the federalFirst Amendment void created by the decision with separate state legalprotection.