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Relating to the protection of expressive activities at public institutions of higher education.
According to the Legislative Budget Board, no significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 18 would require public higher education institutions to ensure that common outdoor areas are deemed to be traditional public forums and permit any individual to engage in expressive activities in those areas freely. Also, public institutions would adopt a policy detailing students' rights and responsibilities regarding expressive activities. Higher education institutions would still be able to adopt reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner of expressive activities.
Notably, in determining whether to approve a campus speaker, a higher education institution would only be able to consider content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral criteria related to the needs of the event.
Texas Action recommends supporting SB 18 because it promotes limited government and individual liberty. SB 18 serves the important purposes of providing more clarity to schools and giving students better means to enforce their First Amendment rights.