Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB5428
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Full Text of HB5428  102nd General Assembly

HB5428 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  

 


 
102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2021 and 2022
HB5428

 

Introduced 1/31/2022, by Rep. Deanne M. Mazzochi

 

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
 
New Act

    Creates the Student Freedom of Speech Act. Contains a statement of legislative findings and intent. Provides that if a public institution of higher education in the State denies the freedom of speech of one of its students in contravention of the findings set forth in the Act, the student shall have a cause of action against that institution. Sets forth limitations. Provides that if a student prevails in an action under the Act, the institution shall reimburse the Office of the Attorney General in the amount of 3 times the legal fees incurred in the action, plus the amount of damages awarded as the court shall determine. Effective immediately.


LRB102 25073 RJT 34333 b

 

 

A BILL FOR

 

HB5428LRB102 25073 RJT 34333 b

1    AN ACT concerning education.
 
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
 
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the
5Student Freedom of Speech Act.
 
6    Section 5. Findings; intent.
7    (a) The General Assembly finds that:
8        (1) the principle of complete freedom of speech on all
9    subjects has from the beginning been regarded as
10    fundamental;
11        (2) neither now nor at any future time can the freedom
12    of speech be called in question;
13        (3) the resolution for ideas we, as Illinoisans and
14    Americans, oppose lies through open discussion rather than
15    through inhibition;
16        (4) institutions of higher education exist for the
17    sake of free and open inquiry in all matters, with the
18    broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen,
19    challenge, and learn, for without it they cease to be
20    institutions of higher education;
21        (5) it is not the proper role these institutions to
22    attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they
23    find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive;

 

 

HB5428- 2 -LRB102 25073 RJT 34333 b

1        (6) it is for individual members of the institution's
2    community, not the institution, to make those judgments
3    for themselves;
4        (7) those judgments should be made not by seeking to
5    suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting
6    the ideas that individuals may oppose;
7        (8) students should have the freedom to discuss any
8    problem that presents itself, just as those outside of
9    institutions of higher education do;
10        (9) concerns about civility and mutual respect can
11    never be used as justification for closing off discussion
12    of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable they may be to
13    some individuals; and
14        (10) although members of an institution's community
15    are free to criticize and contest views expressed and
16    speakers invited on their campus, to act in conformity
17    with the principle of free speech, they may not obstruct
18    or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to
19    express the views they reject or even loathe.
20    (b) It is the intent of the General Assembly that the
21requirements set forth in this Act should apply equally to
22each public institution of higher education in this State and
23to the governing board of each public institution of higher
24education in this State, except as otherwise provided in this
25Act.
 

 

 

HB5428- 3 -LRB102 25073 RJT 34333 b

1    Section 10. Definitions. As used in this Act:
2    "Governing board of each public institution of higher
3education" means the Board of Trustees of the University of
4Illinois, the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois
5University, the Board of Trustees of Chicago State University,
6the Board of Trustees of Eastern Illinois University, the
7Board of Trustees of Governors State University, the Board of
8Trustees of Illinois State University, the Board of Trustees
9of Northeastern Illinois University, the Board of Trustees of
10Northern Illinois University, the Board of Trustees of Western
11Illinois University, and the board of trustees of each
12community college district in this State.
13    "Public institution of higher education" means the
14University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University, Chicago
15State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State
16University, Illinois State University, Northeastern Illinois
17University, Northern Illinois University, Western Illinois
18University, a public community college in this State, or any
19other public university, college, or community college now or
20hereafter established or authorized by the General Assembly.
 
21    Section 15. Right of Action. If a public institution of
22higher education in the State denies the freedom of speech of
23one of its students in contravention of the findings set forth
24in this Act, the student shall have a cause of action against
25that institution.
 

 

 

HB5428- 4 -LRB102 25073 RJT 34333 b

1    Section 20. Limits. Insofar as limitations on this freedom
2are necessary to the basic functioning of a public institution
3of higher education, the freedom to debate and discuss the
4merits of competing ideas does not mean that individuals may
5say whatever they wish, wherever they wish. An institution of
6higher education may restrict speech in a content-neutral
7manner if it:
8        (1) violates the law;
9        (2) falsely defames a specific individual;
10        (3) constitutes a genuine threat or harassment;
11        (4) unjustifiably invades substantial privacy or
12    confidentiality interests;
13        (5) unjustifiably creates a disturbance that prevents
14    a class from conducting its work;
15        (6) unjustifiably creates a disturbance that prevents
16    the ability to study or perform school work in a
17    designated study area or library;
18        (7) takes place in an area or building that would
19    otherwise be inaccessible for speech or physical access at
20    that time of day; or
21        (8) is otherwise directly incompatible with the
22    functioning of a public institution of higher education.
23    In addition, a public institution of higher education may
24reasonably regulate the time, place, and manner of speech to
25ensure that it does not disrupt the ordinary activities of the

 

 

HB5428- 5 -LRB102 25073 RJT 34333 b

1institution. These exceptions are to be construed as narrowly
2as possible, and never be used in a manner that is inconsistent
3with an institution's commitment to a completely free and open
4discussion of ideas.
 
5    Section 25. Fees. If a student prevails in an action under
6this Act, the institution shall reimburse the Office of the
7Attorney General in the amount of 3 times the legal fees
8incurred in the action, plus the amount of damages awarded as
9the court shall determine.
 
10    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon
11becoming law.