85R13608 KJE-F
  By: Cain H.B. No. 2527
  relating to the protection of expressive activities at public
  institutions of higher education.
         SECTION 1.  Subchapter Z, Chapter 51, Education Code, is
  amended by adding Section 51.9315 to read as follows:
         Sec. 51.9315.  PROTECTED EXPRESSION ON CAMPUS. (a) In this
               (1)  "Expressive activities" means any speech or
  expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment to the United
  States Constitution or Section 8, Article I, Texas Constitution,
  and includes assemblies, protests, speeches, the distribution of
  written material, the carrying of signs, and the circulation of
  petitions. The term does not include commercial speech.
               (2)  "Institution of higher education" has the meaning
  assigned by Section 61.003.
         (b)  It is the policy of this state to protect the expressive
  rights of persons guaranteed by the constitutions of the United
  States and of this state by ensuring that:
               (1)  all persons may assemble peaceably on the campuses
  of institutions of higher education for expressive activities; and
               (2)  the expressive rights of persons on the campuses
  of institutions of higher education are not unnecessarily
  restricted or impeded by rules or policies adopted by the
         (c)  An institution of higher education shall:
               (1)  ensure that the common outdoor areas of the
  institution's campus are deemed traditional public forums; and
               (2)  permit any person to engage in expressive
  activities on those areas of the institution's campus freely, as
  long as the person's conduct:
                     (A)  is not unlawful; and
                     (B)  does not materially and substantially
  disrupt the functioning of the institution.
         (d)  Notwithstanding Subsection (c), an institution of
  higher education by rule may maintain and enforce reasonable
  restrictions on the time, place, and manner of expressive
  activities on the common outdoor areas of the institution's campus
  if those restrictions:
               (1)  serve a significant institutional interest;
               (2)  employ clear, published, content-neutral, and
  viewpoint-neutral criteria;
               (3)  provide for ample alternative means of expression;
               (4)  allow members of the university community to
  spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble or distribute written
  material without a permit or other permission from the institution.
         (e)  Subsections (c) and (d) do not limit the right of
  student expression at other campus locations.
         (f)  The protections under this section apply equally to
  students and to student groups and organizations, regardless of
  whether the group or organization is recognized by or registered
  with the institution of higher education.
         (g)  Not later than the first anniversary of the date that a
  violation of this section is alleged to have occurred at an
  institution of higher education, the attorney general or a person
  whose expressive rights have been violated under this section may
  bring an action for injunctive relief to compel the institution to
  comply with this section or to recover compensatory damages, court
  costs, and reasonable attorney's fees.  For purposes of computing
  the limitation period under this subsection, each day of a
  continuing violation of this section, including each day that a
  rule or policy of the institution that violates this section
  remains in effect, constitutes a separate violation.
         (h)  In addition to the cause of action under Subsection (g),
  a person whose expressive rights are affected by a rule or policy
  adopted by an institution of higher education may file suit against
  the institution for declaratory judgment in the manner provided by
  Chapter 37, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
         SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.