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MT governor signs laws protecting free speech at public colleges, universities

Thursday, Apr 15, 2021

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Zack Pruitt regarding Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte’s signing Thursday of two bills sponsored by Rep. Mike Hopkins, House Bill 218 and House Bill 349, that are designed to ensure that public colleges and universities may not ban students from engaging in expressive activity in the open, outdoor areas of campus and that student organizations may operate on campus according to their sincerely held beliefs:

“Public colleges and universities are meant to be free and open to the exchange of ideas—a place where our future teachers, lawyers, doctors, judges, community leaders, and voters can exercise their constitutionally protected freedom of speech. Together, these bills help ensure that public universities remain places where intellectual diversity flourishes and all students can engage in the exchange of ideas rather than being censored on campus. We commend the Montana Legislature and Gov. Gianforte for protecting students’ First Amendment freedoms.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT Zack Pruitt

Zack Pruitt serves as senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom Center for Legislative Advocacy. Since joining ADF in 2017, he has focused his efforts on issues involving religious liberty and freedom of speech. Formerly, Pruitt served as director of public policy for the Family Action Council of Tennessee, where he was responsible for the formulation of legislation and policy initiatives related to religious freedom and constitutional liberties. Prior to joining the council, he was a Charles Koch Institute Research Fellow at the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and managed a state Senate campaign in Missouri. Pruitt earned his Juris Doctor with a certificate in International and Comparative Law from St. Louis University School of Law. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is admitted to the District of Columbia Bar.