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House passes antisemitism bill

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Wednesday night the U.S. House passed a bill that would broaden the definition of antisemitism giving colleges and universities more cover to regulate discriminatory rhetoric on campus.

However, some opponents say the bill would violate free speech rights.

It’s not clear whether concerns over free speech rights could doom the bill’s prospect in the narrowly divided Senate.

The proposal which codifies the definition of antisemitism sailed through the House Wednesday night with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“Now it’s time for Senator Schumer, the highest ranking Jewish official in the history of the United States, to act and to put this bill up for a vote in the Senate,” said Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.).

It’s unclear when that might happen.

“We haven’t seen what the House is sending us yet,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

The bill relies on a definition of antisemitism established by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

If passed it would give the Department of Education more leeway to enforce anti-discrimination laws as college campus protests spread.

 “It needs to be very clear: your students constitutional rights don’t end when they enter your college campus grounds,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.).

Opponents say the bill violates protestors’ constitutional rights.

“This bill threatens to chill constitutionally protected speech. Speech that is critical of Israel alone does not constitute unlawful discrimination,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.).

Others say the measure gives college administrators something they need at a critical moment.

“Protests are nothing new in our country. They’re constitutionally protected by the First Amendment but it’s also very clear that these institutions can regulate the exercise of those First Amendment rights based on time manner and place restrictions,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas.).

It’s not clear when the Senate might take up the bill for a vote.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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