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Bills We're Watching This Session

HB 613 – “Intellectual Freedom”

Talking Points

  • Such a survey creates opportunities for political manipulation and could have a chilling effect on intellectual and academic freedom.
  • Students already have the right to free speech on campus. All viewpoints can be expressed freely and openly.
  • There are many unanswered questions such as:
    • Who will create the survey?
    • How will the information be used?
    • Who will evaluate the survey?
  • When the bill was debated in the 2019 legislative session, Matthew Lata, a professor in the Florida State University College of Music had this to say:
    • “I believe it threatens to exacerbate the divides within our community. Here’s why: There are no details in this clause. We are mandating a survey that presumably would come up with a metric. We’re talking about purely subjective matters here. We’re talking about political views. We’re talking about whether things are addressed correctly in the classroom. …By its nature, such a survey cannot be impartial and bipartisan.

 

Updated Information 

HB 613, originally filed by Ray Rodrigues and since replaced with a Committee Substitute from the Higher Education & Career Readiness Subcommittee would mandate that each Florida college and  university annually survey students on the “intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity” on their campus.

During an interim committee week in December of 2019, HB 613 was reported favorably out of the Higher Education & Career Readiness Subcommittee, and was reported favorably from the Higher Education Appropriations Committee Wednesday, January 15th.

What’s Next

The bill’s final stop before going to the House floor will be in the Education Committee.

Companion Bill

There is currently no companion bill in the Senate.

Vote History

  • 12/12/2019 Higher Education & Career Readiness Subcommittee: Reported Favorably 10-4 
  • 1/15/2020 Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee: Reported Favorably 10-1

Our Position

We oppose this bill.

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