A student press freedom bill was passed just aftermidnight March 13 by the Washington state House of Representatives by a 58-37vote just one day before its legislative deadline and without a proposedamendment to remove high school students from the bill.
Rep. DaveUpthegrove (D-Des Moines) introduced the bill in January to provide protectionto both high school and college students from censorship, prior review anddeclare student editors solely responsible for content.
The billwould be the first law to protect both high school and college journalists underone statue.
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SPLCView: Good news and bad news from Washington state. The good news is thatthe bill passed the state House of Representatives with room to spare and willnow move on to the Senate. The bad news is that debate over the bill has becomeincreasingly partisan with Republicans not only refusing to support thelegislation, but a couple of lawmakers — during public debate on the Housefloor — actually questioning the legislature spending time on such “silly”matters. Whether lawmakers support the legislation or not, the lack of respectdemonstrated by some of the bill’s opponents is disturbing. The right ofcitizens to express themselves on issues that are important to them may not be aright opponents are willing to support for high school students, but it’scertainly not a frivolous concern. The Senate Judiciary committee is expected tohold hearings on the bill next week.