Bill Text: TX SB18 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced

NOTE: There are more recent revisions of this legislation. Read Latest Draft
Bill Title: Relating to the protection of expressive activities at public institutions of higher education.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 71-2)

Status: (Passed) 2019-06-10 - Effective on 9/1/19 [SB18 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB18-Introduced.html
  86R7040 KJE-F
  By: Huffman, Nelson S.B. No. 18
  relating to the protection of expressive activities at public
  institutions of higher education.
         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
               (1)  "Benefit" includes:
                     (A)  recognition by or registration with an
  institution of higher education;
                     (B)  the use of an institution of higher
  education's facilities for meetings or speaking purposes;
                     (C)  the use of channels of communication
  controlled by an institution of higher education; and
                     (D)  funding sources made generally available to
  student organizations at an institution of higher education.
               (2)  "Expressive activities" means any speech or
  expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment to the United
  States Constitution or by 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. The term does not include commercial speech.
               (3)  "Institution of higher education" has the meaning
  assigned by Section 61.003.
               (4)  "Student organization" includes any organization
  that is composed mostly of students enrolled at an institution of
  higher education and that receives a benefit from the institution.
         (b)  It is the policy of this state to protect the expressive
  rights of persons guaranteed by the constitutions of the United
  States and of this state by:
               (1)  recognizing freedom of speech and assembly as
  central to the mission of institutions of higher education; and
               (2)  ensuring that all persons may assemble peaceably
  on the campuses of institutions of higher education for expressive
  activities, including to listen to the speech of others.
         (c)  An institution of higher education shall:
               (1)  ensure that the common outdoor areas of the
  institution's campus are deemed traditional public forums; and
               (2)  permit any person to engage in expressive
  activities in those areas of the institution's campus freely, as
  long as the person's conduct:
                     (A)  is not unlawful; and
                     (B)  does not materially and substantially
  disrupt the functioning of the institution.
         (d)  Notwithstanding Subsection (c), an institution of
  higher education may adopt a policy that imposes reasonable
  restrictions on the time, place, and manner of expressive
  activities in 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;
               (3)  provide for ample alternative means of expression;
               (4)  allow members of the university community to
  spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble or distribute written
  material without a permit or other permission from the institution.
         (e)  Subsections (c) and (d) do not limit the right of
  student expression at other campus locations.
         (f)  Each institution of higher education shall adopt a
  policy detailing students' rights and responsibilities regarding
  expressive activities at the institution. The policy must:
               (1)  allow students, student organizations, and
  faculty to:
                     (A)  subject to reasonable restrictions adopted
  under Subsection (d), engage in expressive activities on campus,
  including by responding to the expressive activities of others; and
                     (B)  subject to Subsection (h), invite speakers to
  speak on campus;
               (2)  establish disciplinary sanctions for students or
  student organizations who unduly interfere with the expressive
  activities of others on campus;
               (3)  include a grievance procedure for addressing
  complaints of a violation of this section;
               (4)  be approved by a majority vote of the institution's
  governing board before final adoption; and
               (5)  be posted on the institution's Internet website.
         (g)  An institution of higher education may not take action
  against a student organization or deny the organization any benefit
  generally available to other student organizations at the
  institution on the basis of a political, religious, philosophical,
  ideological, or academic viewpoint expressed by the organization or
  of any expressive activities of the organization.
         (h)  In determining whether to approve a speaker to speak on
  campus or in determining the amount of a fee to be charged for use of
  the institution's facilities for purposes of engaging in expressive
  activities, an institution of higher education:
               (1)  may consider only content-neutral and
  viewpoint-neutral criteria related to the needs of the event, such
                     (A)  the proposed venue and the expected size of
  the audience;
                     (B)  any anticipated need for campus security;
                     (C)  any necessary accommodations; and
                     (D)  any relevant history of compliance or
  noncompliance by the requesting student, student organization, or
  faculty member with the institution's policy adopted under
  Subsection (f) and any other relevant policies; and
               (2)  may not consider:
                     (A)  the anticipated attendance of persons not
  intending to participate in the event; or
                     (B)  any anticipated controversy related to the
         (i)  Each institution of higher education shall make the
  institution's policies adopted in accordance with this section
  available to students enrolled at and employees of the institution
               (1)  including the policies in the institution's
  student handbook and personnel handbook;
               (2)  providing a copy of each policy to students during
  the institution's freshman or transfer student orientation; and
               (3)  posting the policies on the institution's Internet
         (j)  Each institution of higher education shall develop
  materials, programs, and procedures to ensure that the
  institution's employees responsible for educating or disciplining
  students understand the requirements of this section and all
  policies adopted by the institution in accordance with this
         (k)  Not later than December 1, 2020, each institution of
  higher education shall prepare, post on the institution's Internet
  website, and submit to the governor and the members of the
  legislature a report regarding the institution's implementation of
  the requirements under this section.  This subsection expires
  September 1, 2021.
         SECTION 2.  Not later than August 1, 2020, each public
  institution of higher education shall adopt the policy required
  under Section 51.9315(f), Education Code, as added by this Act.
         SECTION 3.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.