We're disappointed that earlier today, Governor Walker announced he would allow House Bill 156, a bill that restricts the free speech rights of Alaskan students, to become law despite its constitutional infirmities.

ACLU of Alaska’s Statement on House Bill 156 Becoming Law2c_alcu_ak

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2016

Contact: Joshua A. Decker, 907.263.2002, jdecker@acluak.org

Anchorage, Alaska – Governor Bill Walker announced, late this afternoon, that he will allow House Bill 156 to become law. In response, Joshua A. Decker, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, made the following statement:

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska is disappointed that because of Governor Walker’s decision, it will be harder for students to learn medically-accurate, evidence-based facts about sexual health and healthy relationships. The Governor and the Legislature heard, across multiple hearings in the House and Senate, about the educational value offered by Planned Parenthood’s experts and its award-winning Teen Council members.

“Today, Governor Walker has made sex ed the hardest and most regulated topic to teach in Alaska. In a state that sadly leads the nation in the rate of sexually-transmitted infections and has an alarmingly high degree of unplanned pregnancies, our students need medically-accurate knowledge, not harmful hurdles.

“House Bill 156 is constitutionally problematic too: it appears that this law will unconstitutionally chill the free speech rights of Alaska’s students by making it harder for them to discuss, peer-to-peer, how to have healthy relationships and make responsible decisions.

“During Governor Walker’s campaign two years ago, he promised that Alaskans’ reproductive freedom would be as well-protected on his last day in office as it was on his first. His decision today is at odds with this campaign promise.

“On behalf of the hundreds of ACLU activists who called on Governor Walker to veto House Bill 156, we are disappointed that he did not put students or the Constitution first today.”

For more information about House Bill 156, and to read the ACLU of Alaska’s letter calling on Governor Walker to veto it, please visit: https://www.acluak.org/en/legislation/hb-156-school-accountability-measures

The American Civil Liberties Union is our nation’s guardian of liberty. For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of virtually every major battle for civil liberties and equal justice in this country. Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU works in the courts, legislatures, and communities to preserve and expand the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU of Alaska, founded in 1971, is one of the 53 state ACLU affiliates that strive to make the Bill of Rights real for everyone and to uphold the promise of the Constitution—because freedom can’t protect itself.

This release is at: https://www.acluak.org/en/news

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