Today's Law As Amended

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SB-472 Public postsecondary education: Campus Free Expression Act.(2017-2018)

As Amends the Law Today


 Chapter 5.2 (commencing with Section 66320) is added to Part 40 of Division 5 of Title 3 of the Education Code, to read:

CHAPTER  5.2. Campus Free Expression Act
 (a) This chapter shall be known, and may be cited, as the Campus Free Expression Act.
(b) The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Sections 2 and 3 of Article I of the California Constitution protect expressive activities, including, but not limited to, all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speeches, distribution of literature, carrying of signs, and circulation of petitions.
(c) As used in this chapter, “public postsecondary institution” means a campus of the University of California, the California State University, or the California Community Colleges.
 (a) The outdoor areas of public postsecondary institutions are traditional public forums. A public postsecondary institution may maintain and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions only when those restrictions are narrowly tailored in service of a significant institutional interest, employ clear, published, content-neutral, and viewpoint-neutral criteria, and provide for ample alternative means of expression. These restrictions shall allow for members of the campus community to spontaneously and contemporaneously distribute literature and assemble.
(b) A person who wishes to engage in expressive activity on the campus of a public postsecondary institution shall be permitted to do so freely, as long as that person’s conduct is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the institution.
(c) Nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted as doing any of the following:
(1) Altering the protections for expressive activity provided by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Sections 2 and 3 of Article I of the California Constitution.
(2) Limiting the right of student expression in other areas of public postsecondary institutions.
(3) Granting any person the right to materially disrupt scheduled or reserved activities in a portion or section of the campus at the scheduled time.
 (a) Either of the following persons may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction, in accordance with the limitation set forth in Section 66323, to enjoin a violation of this chapter, or to recover compensatory damages, court costs, and reasonable attorney’s fees, or all of these:
(1) The Attorney General.
(2) A person whose right to engage in expressive activity was infringed through a violation of this chapter.
(b) In an action brought pursuant to subdivision (a), if the court finds a violation of this chapter, the court shall award an aggrieved person damages of no less than five hundred dollars ($500) for the initial violation, plus fifty dollars ($50) for each day the violation remains ongoing, which shall accrue starting on the day after the complaint is served on the institution. The total damages, excluding court costs and attorney’s fees, available to a plaintiff, or multiple plaintiffs, in a case or cases stemming from a single controversy shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) in total. If the court that finds a violation of this chapter has harmed multiple plaintiffs, the court shall divide damages, which shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) in total, equally among those plaintiffs.
(c) A violation of this chapter is established by the Attorney General or a person described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) demonstrating in an action brought in a court of competent jurisdiction either of the following:
(1) That a public postsecondary educational institution has a policy that does not conform with the requirements of this chapter.
(2) That a public postsecondary educational institution, by an act or actions of one of its employees, administrators, or any person contracted to perform a service at the institution or by the enforcement of an institutional policy, violated the requirements of this chapter.
 (a) A person shall bring an action alleging a violation of this chapter no later than one year after the date the cause of action accrues.
(b) For purposes of calculating the one-year limitation period imposed by subdivision (a), each day that a violation of this chapter persists, and each day that a policy that violates this chapter remains in effect, constitutes a new violation of this chapter and is, therefore, a new day on which a cause of action has accrued.
SEC. 2.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.