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.
    1-5        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.