Florida Senate - 2018 SB 1234 By Senator Baxley 12-00788B-18 20181234__ 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; providing an 11 effective date. 12 13 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 14 15 Section 1. This act may be cited as the “Campus Free 16 Expression Act.” 17 Section 2. Section 1004.097, Florida Statutes, is created 18 to read: 19 1004.097 Free expression on campus.— 20 (1) DEFINITIONS.— 21 (a) “Free speech zone” means a designated area on a public 22 institution of higher education’s campus for the purpose of 23 political protesting. 24 (b) “Outdoor areas of campus” means generally accessible 25 areas of the campus where members of the campus community are 26 commonly allowed, including grassy areas, walkways, or other 27 similar common areas. The term does not include outdoor areas 28 where access is restricted. 29 (c) “Public institution of higher education” means any 30 public technical center, state college, state university, law 31 school, medical school, dental school, or other Florida College 32 System institution as defined in s. 1000.21. 33 (2) RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH ACTIVITIES.— 34 (a) Expressive activities protected under this section 35 include, but are not limited to, any lawful verbal or written 36 means by which an individual may communicate ideas to others, 37 including all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speeches, 38 and guest speakers; distributing literature; carrying signs; 39 circulating petitions; and the recording and publication, 40 including Internet publication, of video or audio recorded in 41 outdoor areas of campus of public institutions of higher 42 education. 43 (b) A person who wishes to engage in an expressive activity 44 in the outdoor areas of campus of a public institution of higher 45 education may do so freely, spontaneously, and contemporaneously 46 as long as the person’s conduct is lawful and does not 47 materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the 48 public institution of higher education. 49 (c) The outdoor areas of campus of a public institution of 50 higher education that accept federal funding are considered 51 traditional public forums. A public institution of higher 52 education may create and enforce restrictions that are 53 reasonable and content-neutral on time, place, and manner of 54 expression and that are narrowly tailored to a significant 55 institutional interest. Restrictions must be clear, be 56 published, and provide for ample alternative means of 57 expression. 58 (d) A public institution of higher education may not 59 designate any area of campus as a free speech zone or otherwise 60 create policies restricting expressive activities to a 61 particular area of campus. 62 (e) Students, faculty, or staff of a public institution of 63 higher education may not materially disrupt previously scheduled 64 or reserved activities on campus occurring at the same time. 65 (3) CAUSE OF ACTION; DAMAGES.— 66 (a) The Attorney General or a person whose expressive 67 rights are violated by an action prohibited under this section 68 may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction to 69 recover compensatory damages, reasonable court costs, and 70 attorney fees. 71 (b) If the court finds that a violation of this section 72 occurred, the court shall award the aggrieved party a minimum of 73 $500 for the initial violation plus an additional $50 for each 74 day the violation remains ongoing starting the day after the 75 date the complaint is served on the public institution of higher 76 education. 77 (c) Excluding reasonable court costs and attorney fees, the 78 total compensatory damages available to a plaintiff in a case 79 arising from a single violation of this section may not exceed 80 $100,000. If there are multiple plaintiffs, the court shall 81 divide the damages equally among the plaintiffs until the 82 maximum award is exhausted. 83 (4) STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.—A person aggrieved by a 84 violation of this section must bring suit no later than 1 year 85 after the date the cause of action accrues. For the purpose of 86 calculating the 1-year limitation period, each day that a 87 violation of this section persists or each day that a policy in 88 violation of this section remains in effect constitutes a new 89 violation and, therefore, a new day that the cause of action 90 accrues. 91 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.