Text: H.R.7229 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (12/10/2018)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 7229 Introduced in House (IH)]

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115th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 7229

 To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to protect student rights, 
                        and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           December 10, 2018

Mr. Brat (for himself, Mr. Budd, Mr. Meadows, Mr. Gaetz, Mr. Gosar, Mr. 
Lamborn, Mr. Gianforte, and Mr. Norman) introduced the following bill; 
   which was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to protect student rights, 
                        and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Student Rights Act of 2018''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Freedom of speech is a fundamental natural right.
            (2) Freedom of assembly and freedom of association are a 
        necessary part of such freedom of speech.
            (3) The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United 
        States, ratified on December 15, 1791, protects freedom of 
        speech for Americans.
            (4) Freedom of inquiry, impossible without the freedom of 
        speech, should be a first principle amongst American public 
        institutions of higher education to promote civic deliberation, 
        the discourse of ideas, and the search for truth.
            (5) Freedom of speech has been abridged at many public 
        institutions of higher education.
            (6) It is necessary to clarify the rights of students to 
        assemble, associate, speak, and think freely.
            (7) It is necessary to notify students at public 
        institutions of higher education of their rights under the 
        First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and 
        ensure a fair judicial process for such students to challenge 
        violations of their rights.

SEC. 3. RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH IN OUTDOOR AREAS.

    Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1070 et 
seq.) is amended--
            (1) in section 487(a), by adding at the end the following:
            ``(30) In the case of a public institution, the institution 
        will comply with the expressive activity protections described 
        in section 493E.''; and
            (2) in part G, by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 493E. CAMPUS INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.

    ``(a) Definition of Expressive Activities.--
            ``(1) In general.--In this section, the term `expressive 
        activity' includes--
                    ``(A) peacefully assembling, protesting, or 
                speaking;
                    ``(B) distributing literature;
                    ``(C) carrying a sign; or
                    ``(D) circulating a petition.
            ``(2) Exclusions.--In this section, the term `expressive 
        activity' does not include violence, harassment, or obscenity 
        (as defined by applicable statutory law in accordance with the 
        precedents of the Supreme Court of the United States).
    ``(b) Expressive Activities at an Institution.--
            ``(1) In general.--Each public institution of higher 
        education participating in a program under this title may not 
        prohibit, subject to paragraph (2), a student from freely 
        engaging in noncommercial expressive activity in an outdoor 
        area on the institution's campus if the student's conduct is 
        lawful.
            ``(2) Restrictions.--An institution of higher education 
        described in paragraph (1) may maintain and enforce reasonable 
        time, place, or manner restrictions on an expressive activity 
        in an outdoor area of the institution's campus, if the 
        restriction--
                    ``(A) is narrowly tailored to serve a significant 
                institutional interest;
                    ``(B) is based on previously published, content-
                neutral, and viewpoint-neutral criteria; and
                    ``(C) leaves open ample alternative channels for 
                communication.
            ``(3) Application.--The protections provided under 
        paragraph (1) do not apply to expressive activity in an area on 
        an institution's campus that is not an outdoor area.
    ``(c) Causes of Action.--
            ``(1) Authorization.--The following persons may bring an 
        action in a Federal court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin a 
        violation of this section or any of paragraphs (31) through 
        (34) of section 487(a), or to recover compensatory damages, 
        reasonable court costs, or reasonable attorney fees:
                    ``(A) The Attorney General.
                    ``(B) A person claiming that the person's 
                expressive activity rights, as described in subsection 
                (b)(1), were violated.
            ``(2) Actions.--In an action brought under this subsection, 
        if the court finds a violation of this section, the court--
                    ``(A) shall--
                            ``(i) enjoin the violation; and
                            ``(ii) if a person whose expressive 
                        activity rights were violated brought the 
                        action, award the person--
                                    ``(I) not less than $1,000 for an 
                                initial violation; and
                                    ``(II) if the person notifies the 
                                institution of the violation, $100 for 
                                each day the violation continues after 
                                the notification if the institution did 
                                not act to discontinue the cause of the 
                                violation; and
                    ``(B) may award a prevailing plaintiff--
                            ``(i) compensatory damages;
                            ``(ii) reasonable court costs; or
                            ``(iii) reasonable attorney fees.
    ``(d) Statute of Limitations.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (3), an 
        action under this section may not be brought later than 1 year 
        after the date on which the cause of action accrues.
            ``(2) Continuing violation.--Each day that a violation of 
        this section continues after an initial violation of this 
        section, and each day that an institution's policy in violation 
        of this section remains in effect, shall constitute a 
        continuing violation of this section.
            ``(3) Extension.--For a continuing violation described in 
        paragraph (2), the limitation described in paragraph (1) shall 
        extend to 1 year after the date on which the most recent 
        violation occurs.''.

SEC. 4. FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION.

    Section 487(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1094(a)), as amended by section 3, is further amended by adding at the 
end the following:
            ``(31) In the case of a public institution, the institution 
        will allow a religious or political student organization to 
        determine that ordering the organization's internal affairs, 
        selecting the organization's leaders and members, defining the 
        organization's doctrines, and resolving the organization's 
        disputes are in furtherance of the organization's religious or 
        political mission and that only persons committed to that 
        mission should conduct such activities.
            ``(32) In the case of a public institution that has granted 
        recognition and access to any student organization or group, 
        the institution shall not discriminate against any such student 
        organization or group that exercises its rights under this 
        Act.''.

SEC. 5. RIGHT FOR STUDENTS GROUPS TO INVITE SPEAKERS.

    Section 487(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1094(a)), as amended by sections 3 and 4, is further amended by adding 
at the end the following:
            ``(33) In the case of a public institution, the institution 
        will not abridge the freedom of any individual, including 
        enrolled students, faculty, other employees, and the invited 
        guests of any such individuals, to speak on campus, except that 
        the institution may restrict the use of its nonpublic 
        facilities by invited guests.
            ``(34) In the case of a public institution, the 
        institution--
                    ``(A) will make all reasonable efforts and will 
                make available all reasonable resources to ensure the 
                safety of invited speakers; and
                    ``(B) will not charge security fees based on--
                            ``(i) the content of the speech of an 
                        individual or organization that invites a 
                        speaker; or
                            ``(ii) the content of the speech of an 
                        invited speaker.''.

SEC. 6. DISCLOSURE OF FREEDOM OF SPEECH ON CAMPUS POLICIES.

    Section 487(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
1094(a)), as amended by sections 3 through 5, is further amended by 
adding at the end the following:
            ``(35) In the case of a public institution, the institution 
        will--
                    ``(A) develop a written policy guaranteeing free 
                speech, assembly, and association on campus in a manner 
                that is consistent with the First Amendment, including 
                the policy of the institution with respect to--
                            ``(i) invitations by students to speakers 
                        to speak at such institution; and
                            ``(ii) student and faculty rights to free-
                        speech, rights of association, and rights to 
                        publish;
                    ``(B) include in a statement that it is not the 
                proper role of an institution to deprive individuals 
                from speech protected by the First Amendment of the 
                Constitution of the United States, including ideas and 
                opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or 
                offensive;
                    ``(C) if the institution is sued for an alleged 
                violation of a right guaranteed by the First Amendment, 
                submit a report with a copy of the complaint to--
                            ``(i) the Secretary;
                            ``(ii) the Committees on Education and the 
                        Workforce and Oversight and Government Reform 
                        of the House of Representatives; and
                            ``(iii) the Committees on Health, 
                        Education, Labor, and Pensions and Homeland 
                        Security and Government Affairs of the Senate;
                    ``(D) notify students of the information described 
                in subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) annually by mail or 
                email and at freshman orientation classes or seminars, 
                if such seminars are offered; and
                    ``(E) publish the information described in 
                subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) on a publicly 
                accessible website of the institution.''.

SEC. 7. APPLICABILITY TO CERTAIN INSTITUTIONS.

    Nothing in this Act or the amendments made by this Act shall apply 
to a student or a student organization at a public institution of 
higher education the primary mission of which is to prepare individuals 
for service in the Armed Forces or the merchant marine.
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