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