The Senate Education and Health Committee will consider two excellent education-related bills tomorrow morning. One regards students’ rights on college campuses and the other, the proper instruction on the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other key foundational documents.

We need you to contact your senator and urge him or her to vote for HB 258 and HB 197!

HB 258, patroned by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge), would prevent Virginia’s public colleges from restricting free speech by limiting the areas on campus where students and their clubs can hold rallies, events and forums. These so-called "free speech zones" are anything but and, unfortunately, a growing trend around the country. One Virginia college adopted this policy, but retracted it when this bill was introduced. The bill is based on federal court case law and has proper safeguards for administrators.

It used to be that all but a few places on college campuses were for free speech; now, the trend is that nothing but a few places on campuses are for free speech. The bill received a favorable recommendation in sub-committee, but nothing is ever assured at the committee level and your help is needed today!

HB 197, patroned by Delegate Steve Landes (R-25, Verona), updates and reinforces current law that instruction “increase knowledge of citizens' rights and responsibilities and to enhance the understanding of Virginia's unique role in the history of the United States” and our founding documents. It ensures that all supplementary materials used to teach the Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and other important documents contain accurate restatements of the principles they espouse. HB 197 was not heard in a sub-committee and all bets are off as to its fate.

Please encourage members of the Senate Education and Health Committee to vote in favor of these two important education bills.