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Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – Virginia

US Capitol Building

Virginia has passed two bills regarding campus free speech. In 2014, Virginia enacted HB 258, now Va. Code Ann. § 23.1-401. In 2018, Virginia enacted HB 344, now Va. Code Ann. § 23.1-401.1.

HB 258 Summary

HB 258 eliminates policies that quarantine speech to misleadingly labeled “free speech zones.”

Key Provision

  • Prohibits public institutions from quarantining speech with “free speech zones.”

FIRE Commentary on HB 258

Virginia Bans Unconstitutional Campus ‘Free Speech Zones’

HB 344 Summary

HB 344 prohibits public institutions of higher education from infringing on the free speech rights of students, faculty, or invited speakers.

Key Provisions

  • Prohibits public institutions from limiting the expressive rights of students, faculty, or invited speakers;
  • Requires public institutions to detail online, at student orientations, and in the student handbook those policies and procedures that relate to expressive rights;
  • Requires public institutions to train relevant faculty in the institution’s free expression policies and procedures; and
  • Requires public institutions to submit to the Governor and to the Chairs of the House Committee on Education and the Senate Committee on Education and Health an annual report related to the institution’s enforcement of expressive rights.

FIRE Commentary on HB 344