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Week in Review: Alabama Protects Free Speech on Campus

Alabama has enacted a new law to protect free speech on campus, adding protections to the expressive rights of students, faculty, and other officials at the state’s colleges.

Under Alabama’s law, which Governor Kay Iveysigned on Thursday,public institutions must consider sanctions for anyone in the campus community that violates someone else’s expressive activity; abolish so-called “free-speech zones” that limit speech to isolated areas of campus; and require university trustees to report annually on free-speech incidents, to name a few provisions.

Alabama’s law follows the sound design of similar protections adopted in North Carolina, Arizona, Georgia, and by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents—all of which are based on the Goldwater Institute’s campus free-speech model legislation.

Goldwater’s Janus Follow-Up Case Goes to Court

The Goldwater Institute will be in court this week arguing on behalf of North Dakota attorney Arnold Fleck in a case that challenges his state’s mandatory bar membership requirement on the grounds that it’s a violation of the First Amendment.

Goldwater’s Vice President for Litigation Timothy Sandefur writes about the case in a new article on the In Defense of Liberty blog, and explains its implications for the freedom of speech and freedom of association for all Americans.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Janus v. AFSCME—striking down laws that force government employees to pay annual fees to support public-sector unions—has set the stage for a round of lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of laws that force attorneys to join and to subsidize bar associations,” Sandefur writes. “Just like the law at issue in Janus, these mandatory bar association rules force lawyers to become members of, and to send hundreds of dollars a year to, organizations that often take political positions that their own members disagree with. That’s a violation of the First Amendment—and it’s politically important, too, given the strong influence that bar associations have in state and federal legislatures.”

A Remarkable Anniversary for the Right to Try

One year ago, what seemed impossible became reality when the president signed the Right to Try Act — a federal law that protects patients’ right to seek medicines that have received basic safety approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but have not yet been fully approved for sale.

The Right to Try movement was genuine grassroots reform, passed by a majority of states before arriving in Congress. It received strong bipartisan support all the way.

It’s pretty unusual for state and federal legislators of both parties to come together on anything nowadays, especially a major piece of healthcare reform legislation. But patients have been trying for decades to break the bureaucratic inertia that has slowed their access to innovative treatments that could improve or even save their lives. They knew their time had finally come — and the law is already saving lives.

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