Maybe next time: Anti-Hazelwood legislation gaining momentum

Despite several failed attempts this year at passing legislation to counteract the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood ruling, some states are still planning to take on the challenge next session.Although a bill that would have paved the way for state-supported student free expression in Nebraska died with the closing of the session this spring, Rep. Chris Beutler, D-Lincoln, said he is confident the bill will pass the legislature once he reintroduces it next session.The legislature had just started hearing arguments for Bill 539, which made its way to the floor after coming out of the education committee, when the session ended.The bill, which also failed in 1994, 1995 and 1996, died this year only because the legislature considered it too late in the session, Beutler said.Rep. Joan Bray, D-University City, of Missouri said she plans on reintroducing a bill in January similar to Bill 1567 that died in the House Judiciary Committee this spring when the session ended.Although the bill failed this session, Bray said she is confident the legislation will pass in the future because of growing support for it in the state.A Michigan student free expression bill is being drafted by Rep. Lynne Martinez, D-Lansing, and once written, could come before the legislature as early as this fall. The bill is similar to one that died in 1995 in committee, but Martinez said the support for the legislation has grown since it last was considered.