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.
   13  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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         1004.097Free 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.
   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.