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A04066 Summary:

Add §6438-a, Ed L
Relates to right to use campus for free speech activities.
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A04066 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2017-2018 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    February 1, 2017
        Introduced by M. of A. PAULIN -- read once and referred to the Committee
          on  Higher  Education  --  committee discharged, bill amended, ordered
          reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee
        AN ACT to amend the education law, in  relation  to  the  right  to  use
          campus for free speech activities

          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. The education law is amended by adding a new section 6438-a
     2  to read as follows:
     3    § 6438-a. Right to use campus for free speech activities. 1.   Expres-
     4  sive  activities protected under the provisions of this section include,
     5  but are not limited  to,  all  forms  of  peaceful  assembly,  protests,
     6  speeches,  distribution  of  literature, carrying signs, and circulating
     7  petitions.
     8    2. The outdoor areas of college campuses covered by this article shall
     9  be deemed traditional public forums. A college may maintain and  enforce
    10  reasonable  time,  place,  and  manner  restrictions  that  are narrowly
    11  tailored and in service of a  significant  institutional  interest  only
    12  when  such  restrictions employ clear, published, content and viewpoint-
    13  neutral criteria and provide for ample alternative means of  expression.
    14  Any such restrictions must allow for members of the university community
    15  to  spontaneously and contemporaneously distribute literature and assem-
    16  ble.
    17    3. Any person who wishes to engage in noncommercial expressive  activ-
    18  ity  on  campus  shall  be  permitted  to do so freely, as long as their
    19  conduct is not  unlawful  and  does  not  materially  and  substantially
    20  disrupt  the functioning of the institution, subject to the requirements
    21  of subdivision two of this section. Nothing in this section  grants  any
    22  person  the right to materially disrupt previously scheduled or reserved
    23  activities in a portion or section of the campus at that scheduled time.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        A. 4066--A                          2
     1    4. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as limiting the  right
     2  of student expression elsewhere on campus.
     3    5. a. The attorney general may bring an action in a court of competent
     4  jurisdiction to enjoin a violation of this section.
     5    b. Persons whose expressive rights were violated through the violation
     6  of this section may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction
     7  to  enjoin  a  violation  of  this  section  and to recover compensatory
     8  damages, reasonable court costs,  and  attorneys'  fees.  In  an  action
     9  brought  pursuant  to  this paragraph, if the court finds a violation of
    10  this section, the court shall award an aggrieved person  damages  of  no
    11  less  than  five  hundred  dollars for the initial violation, plus fifty
    12  dollars for each day the violation remains ongoing, which  shall  accrue
    13  starting  on the day after the complaint is served on the institution of
    14  higher education. The total damages, excluding court  costs  and  attor-
    15  ney's  fees, available to a plaintiff or set of plaintiffs, in a case or
    16  cases stemming from a single controversy shall not  exceed  two  hundred
    17  fifty  thousand  dollars in total. In violations harming multiple plain-
    18  tiffs, the court shall divide the damages equally among them  until  the
    19  maximum award is exhausted, if applicable.
    20    c. A violation of this section is established by demonstrating that an
    21  institution  subject  to  this  section maintains a policy that does not
    22  conform with the requirement herein or by demonstrating that an institu-
    23  tion, by an action of one of its agents or by the enforcement of a poli-
    24  cy, violated the free speech rights guaranteed under this section.
    25    d. A person must bring suit for a violation of this section not  later
    26  than one year after the day the cause of action accrues. For purposes of
    27  calculating  the one-year limitation period, each day that the violation
    28  of this section persists, and each day that a  policy  in  violation  of
    29  this section remains in effect, shall constitute a new violation of this
    30  section and, therefore, a new day that the cause of action has accrued.
    31    § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
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