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HB 1200 - Prohibits "Free Speech Zones" on College Campuses - Mississippi Key Vote

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Title: Prohibits "Free Speech Zones" on College Campuses

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that prohibits "free speech zones" on college campuses by establishing the "Forming Open and Robust University Minds (Forum) Act."

Highlights:

 

  • Prohibits state institutions of higher learning from creating “free speech zones” or other designated areas of campus outside of which expressive activities are prohibited, and specifies that outdoor areas of campuses of state institutions of higher learning will be deemed public forums for the campus community (Sec. 4).

  • Authorizes state institutions of higher learning to maintain and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions narrowly tailored in service of a significant institutional interest only when such restrictions employ clear, published, content and viewpoint-neutral criteria, and provide for ample alternative means of expression (Sec. 4).

  • Specifies that any such restrictions must allow for members of the campus community to spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble and distribute literature (Sec. 4).

  • Authorizes any person who wishes to engage in non-commercial expressive activity on campus freely, as long as the person’s conduct is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the function of the state institution of higher learning (Sec. 5).

  • Prohibits a state institution of higher learning from denying a religious, political, or ideological student organization any benefit or privilege available to other student organization, or otherwise discriminate against such an organization, based on the expression of the organization, including any requirement that leaders or member of such organization (Sec. 6):

    • Affirm and adhere to the organization’s sincerely held beliefs; 

    • Comply with the organization’s standards of conduct; or 

    • Further the organization’s mission or purpose, as defined by the student organization.

  • Authorizes any person or student association aggrieved by a violation of this act may bring action against the state institution of higher learning and seek appropriate relief including injunctive relief and monetary damages, and if a court finds a violation of this act it must issue an aware of at least $5,000 (Sec. 10).

  • Specifies that expressive activities protected under this act include, but are not limited to, any lawful verbal, written, audio-visual or electronic means by which individuals may communicate ideas to one another, including all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speeches and guest speakers, distribution of literature, carrying signs and circulating petitions (Sec. 3).

Title: Prohibits "Free Speech Zones" on College Campuses

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