It's been a couple of hundred years, but we finally have freedom of speech in Delaware. We are the last state.
Here's the text of the Bill that passed into law this week in Delaware:
Delaware State SenateFree speech. It feels good. We should have done this sooner.
142nd General Assembly
Senate Bill No. 7
An Act Concurring in a Proposed Amendment to Article I, Section 5 of the Delaware Constitution of 1897, as Amended, Relating to Freedom of Speech.
Be it Enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):
Section 1. Amend Article I, section 5 of the Delaware Constitution of 1897, as amended, by inserting in the title of §5 the words "and speech" after the phrase "Freedom of press" and before the semicolon.
Section 2. Amend Article I, section 5 of the Delaware Constitution of 1897, as amended, by inserting the following sentence before the first sentence:
"The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man."
Section 3. Amend Article I, section 5 of the Delaware Constitution of 1897, as amended, by inserting the words "freely speak, write and" between the phrases "and any citizen may" and "print on any subject".
This is the second leg of a Constitutional Amendment. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America prohibits Congress from making a law that abridges freedom of speech. Delaware is one of the only states in the country that has failed to adopt a similar amendment explicitly guaranteeing its citizens the freedom of speech. This Constitutional Amendment guarantees Delaware citizens the right to freedom of speech, which includes spoken or written communications.
The protections afforded Delawareans in this Constitutional Amendment serve to reinforce one of the most basic, fundamental rights upon which this country was founded – the right to communicate one’s thoughts and ideas without fear of government persecution. Throughout history, people; around the world have struggled and fought for this very right.
Delaware’s Bill of Rights was modeled upon the 1790 Constitution of Pennsylvania. Thus, the language contained in this Amendment closely tracks the Pennsylvania constitutional provision guaranteeing the right to free speech. This will offer Delawareans consistency and continuity in the enjoyment of their State constitutional rights.
Author: Senator Blevins