Bill Text: TX SB1151 | 2017-2018 | 85th Legislature | Engrossed


Bill Title: Relating to the protection of expressive activities at public institutions of higher education.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 7-0)

Status: (Engrossed) 2017-05-18 - Referred to Higher Education [SB1151 Detail]

Download: Texas-2017-SB1151-Engrossed.html
 
 
  By: Buckingham, et al. S.B. No. 1151
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to the protection of expressive activities at public
  institutions of higher education.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter Z, Chapter 51, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 51.9315 to read as follows:
         Sec. 51.9315.  PROTECTED EXPRESSION ON CAMPUS. (a) In this
  section:
               (1)  "Expressive activities" means any speech or
  expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment to the United
  States Constitution or Section 8, Article I, Texas Constitution,
  and includes assemblies, protests, speeches, the distribution of
  written material, the carrying of signs, and the circulation of
  petitions.
               (2)  "Institution of higher education" has the meaning
  assigned by Section 61.003.
         (b)  An institution of higher education may not designate any
  area on campus as a free speech zone or otherwise create policies
  implying that its students' expressive activities are restricted to
  particular areas of campus.  An institution of higher education may
  not, except to provide time, place, or manner restrictions as
  provided by Subsection (c), restrict the right of students to
  engage in expression in a student forum.
         (c)  Notwithstanding Subsection (b), an institution of
  higher education by rule may maintain and enforce reasonable
  restrictions on the time, place, and manner of expressive
  activities on the common outdoor areas of the institution's campus
  if those restrictions:
               (1)  are narrowly tailored to serve a significant
  institutional interest;
               (2)  employ clear, published, content-neutral, and
  viewpoint-neutral criteria; and
               (3)  provide for ample alternative means of expression.
         (d)  Each institution of higher education shall adopt a
  policy detailing students' and employees' rights to engage in
  expressive activities at the institution. The policy must:
               (1)  prohibit:
                     (A)  reducing a student's grade for engaging in
  expressive activities; and
                     (B)  increasing a student's grade for engaging in
  expressive activities, unless a variety of expressive activities
  and viewpoints, including the viewpoints of any political party,
  qualify for the increase;
               (2)  include a grievance procedure for addressing
  complaints of a violation of this section;
               (3)  be approved by a majority vote of the institution's
  governing board before final adoption; and
               (4)  be posted on the institution's Internet website.
         (e)  Each institution of higher education shall inform
  students enrolled at and employees of the institution of the policy
  adopted under Subsection (d), including by:
               (1)  discussing the policy during student orientation;
  and
               (2)  annually distributing a copy of the policy to
  students and employees.
         (f)  An institution of higher education or any employee of
  the institution may not punish a student or employee in any manner
  for engaging in expressive activities.
         SECTION 2.  If any provision of this Act or its application
  to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does
  not affect other provisions or applications of this Act that can be
  given effect without the invalid provision or application, and the
  provisions of this Act are severable for this purpose.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
feedback