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Assembly passes punishments for disrupting campus speeches

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican lawmakers continued their drive Tuesday to punish students who disrupt conservative speakers on college campuses, pushing through the state Assembly a bill that calls for suspensions and expulsions.

Under the bill, students who, on two separate occasions, disrupt others’ free speech on University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College System campuses would be suspended. Three-time offenders would be expelled.

The Assembly approved the proposal 62-37, sending it to the Senate.

The GOP introduced a similar bill last session after protests disrupted conservative speakers on college campuses around the country, including the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro when he appeared at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in November 2016. That bill died in the Senate, but UW System regents adopted an identical punishment policy in 2017. It hasn’t gone into effect yet as system officials draft regulations to carry it out. Regents have scheduled a March 5 public hearing on the final version of the regulations.

The latest bill appears doomed. Even if it gets through the Senate, Gov. Tony Evers looks is likely to veto it.

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