Just when you thought the Arizona legislature was out of bad ideas.
SB 1467, newly introduced in the Arizona State Senate, would force schools and universities to suspend, fine, and ultimately fire any teacher or professor who “engage[d] in speech or conduct that would violate the standards adopted by the federal communications commission concerning obscenity, indecency and profanity if that speech or conduct were broadcast on television or radio.”
For the first offense, you’d get a one-week suspension without pay. For the second offense, two weeks. For the third, a pink slip.
As Greg Lukianoff of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, this law would not only block the teaching of such classics as Ulysses, The Canterbury Tales, and Catcher in the Rye, it’d prohibit historians and law professors from competently discussing campus free speech regulations, since the most important Supreme Court case in that field hinged on a jacket with the slogan “Fuck The Draft” written on it.
It’s also worth noting, as Lukianoff does, that the bill would regulate professors’ actions outside the classroom, which means that merely writing the paragraph above — in a blogpost, a scholarly article, even a private email — would get you suspended.
But it’s even worse than that.
Note the language of the bill: You’re violating the law if you engage “in speech or conduct” that would violate FCC standards if “broadcast on television or radio.” Not public speech or conduct. Speech or conduct, full stop.
If this law passes, it will be illegal for any “person who provides classroom instruction” in the state of Arizona to have sex.