By Edwards H.B. No. 393 74R89 CAS-D A BILL TO BE ENTITLED 1-1 AN ACT 1-2 relating to equal access for student religious groups to public 1-3 school premises for meetings during noninstructional time. 1-4 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: 1-5 SECTION 1. Subchapter Z, Chapter 21, Education Code, is 1-6 amended by adding Section 21.940 to read as follows: 1-7 Sec. 21.940. EQUAL ACCESS FOR STUDENT MEETINGS. (a) A 1-8 public school district that grants a limited open forum to one or 1-9 more non-curriculum-related student groups for meetings on school 1-10 premises during noninstructional time may not deny equal access or 1-11 a fair opportunity to, or discriminate against, any students who 1-12 wish to conduct a meeting within that limited open forum on the 1-13 basis of the religious content of the speech, including prayer, at 1-14 the meeting. 1-15 (b) Under this section, a school district offers a fair 1-16 opportunity to students who wish to conduct a meeting within its 1-17 limited open forum if the school district uniformly provides that: 1-18 (1) the meeting is voluntary and student-initiated; 1-19 (2) there is no sponsorship of the meeting by the 1-20 school district or the district's board of trustees or employees; 1-21 (3) the district's trustees or employees are present 1-22 at religious meetings in a nonparticipatory capacity only; 1-23 (4) the meeting does not materially and substantially 1-24 interfere with the orderly conduct of educational activities within 2-1 the school; and 2-2 (5) nonschool persons do not direct, conduct, control, 2-3 or regularly attend meetings of student groups. 2-4 (c) This section does not authorize the school district to: 2-5 (1) influence the form or content of any prayer or 2-6 other religious activity; 2-7 (2) require any person to participate in prayer or 2-8 other religious activity; 2-9 (3) expend public funds beyond the incidental cost of 2-10 providing the space for student-initiated meetings; 2-11 (4) compel any school employee to attend a school 2-12 meeting if the content of the speech at the meeting is contrary to 2-13 the beliefs of the employee; 2-14 (5) sanction meetings that are otherwise unlawful; 2-15 (6) limit the rights of groups of students that are 2-16 not of a specified numerical size; or 2-17 (7) abridge the constitutional rights of any person. 2-18 (d) This section does not limit the authority of a school 2-19 district, or its employees, to maintain order and discipline on 2-20 school premises, to protect the well-being of students and 2-21 employees, and to ensure that attendance of students at the 2-22 meetings is voluntary. 2-23 SECTION 2. This Act applies beginning with the 1995-1996 2-24 school year. 2-25 SECTION 3. The importance of this legislation and the 2-26 crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an 2-27 emergency and an imperative public necessity that the 3-1 constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several 3-2 days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended, 3-3 and that this Act take effect and be in force from and after its 3-4 passage, and it is so enacted.