Florida Senate - 2018 CS for SB 1234 By the Committee on Education; and Senator Baxley 581-02905-18 20181234c1 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to free expression on campus; 3 providing a short title; creating s. 1004.097, F.S.; 4 defining terms; providing applicability; authorizing a 5 public institution of higher education to create and 6 enforce certain restrictions relating to expressive 7 activities on campus; providing for a cause of action 8 against a public institution of higher education for 9 violations of the act; providing for damages; 10 providing a statute of limitations; amending s. 11 1009.24, F.S.; requiring student government 12 associations to provide specified information to 13 recognized student organizations that request funding; 14 requiring the organizations to maintain and 15 prominently display on their websites certain 16 information regarding such funding requests; providing 17 an effective date. 18 19 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 20 21 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Campus Free 22 Expression Act.” 23 Section 2. Section 1004.097, Florida Statutes, is created 24 to read: 25 1004.097 Free expression on campus.— 26 (1) DEFINITIONS.— 27 (a) “Free speech zone” means a designated area on a public 28 institution of higher education’s campus for the purpose of 29 political protesting. 30 (b) “Outdoor areas of campus” means generally accessible 31 areas of the campus where members of the campus community are 32 commonly allowed, including grassy areas, walkways, or other 33 similar common areas. The term does not include outdoor areas 34 where access is restricted. 35 (c) “Public institution of higher education” means any 36 public technical center, state university, law school, medical 37 school, dental school, or Florida College System institution as 38 defined in s. 1000.21. 39 (2) RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH ACTIVITIES.— 40 (a) Expressive activities protected under this section 41 include, but are not limited to, any lawful verbal or written 42 means by which an individual may communicate ideas to others, 43 including all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speeches, 44 and guest speakers; distributing literature; carrying signs; 45 circulating petitions; and the recording and publication, 46 including Internet publication, of video or audio recorded in 47 outdoor areas of campus of public institutions of higher 48 education. 49 (b) A person who wishes to engage in an expressive activity 50 in the outdoor areas of campus of a public institution of higher 51 education may do so freely, spontaneously, and contemporaneously 52 as long as the person’s conduct is lawful and does not 53 materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the 54 public institution of higher education. 55 (c) The outdoor areas of campus of a public institution of 56 higher education that accept federal funding are considered 57 traditional public forums. A public institution of higher 58 education may create and enforce restrictions that are 59 reasonable and content-neutral on time, place, and manner of 60 expression and that are narrowly tailored to a significant 61 institutional interest. Restrictions must be clear, be 62 published, and provide for ample alternative means of 63 expression. 64 (d) A public institution of higher education may not 65 designate any area of campus as a free speech zone or otherwise 66 create policies restricting expressive activities to a 67 particular area of campus. 68 (e) Students, faculty, or staff of a public institution of 69 higher education may not materially disrupt previously scheduled 70 or reserved activities on campus occurring at the same time. 71 (3) CAUSE OF ACTION; DAMAGES.— 72 (a) If a public institution of higher education or an 73 individual acting on behalf of a public institution of higher 74 education willfully violates a person’s expressive rights by an 75 action prohibited under this section, the Attorney General or 76 the person may bring an action in a court of competent 77 jurisdiction against the public institution of higher education 78 to recover compensatory damages plus court costs and a 79 reasonable attorney fee. If the court finds that a violation of 80 this section occurred, the court shall award the aggrieved party 81 at least $500 for each violation or shall award compensatory 82 damages. 83 (b) Excluding reasonable court costs and attorney fees, the 84 total compensatory damages available to a plaintiff in a case 85 arising from a single violation of this section may not exceed 86 $100,000. If there are multiple plaintiffs, the court shall 87 divide the damages equally among the plaintiffs until the 88 maximum award is exhausted. 89 (4) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.—A person aggrieved by a 90 violation of this section must bring suit no later than 1 year 91 after the date the cause of action accrues. For the purpose of 92 calculating the 1-year limitation period, each day that a 93 violation of this section persists or each day that a policy in 94 violation of this section remains in effect constitutes a new 95 violation and, therefore, a new day that the cause of action 96 accrues. 97 Section 3. Paragraphs (c) and (d) are added to subsection 98 (10) of section 1009.24, Florida Statutes, to read: 99 1009.24 State university student fees.— 100 (10) 101 (c) In the interest of preserving viewpoint neutrality in 102 the allocation of activity and service fees, a student 103 government organization that receives a request for activity and 104 service fee funding from a recognized student organization must 105 provide a written explanation to the recognized student 106 organization regarding its funding determination. 107 (d) Each student government association shall maintain on 108 its website an organized record of the funding requests and 109 awards it receives and disburses. The record must contain the 110 name of each organization that requested funds, the amount the 111 organization requested, the amount the organization received, 112 and the written explanation required in paragraph (c). The 113 record must be displayed prominently on the student government 114 association’s website. 115 Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.