UPDATED: Oregon student free expression bill passes House committee

OREGON — A student press freedom bill passed the Oregon state House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Monday with a good recommendation from committee members and amendments the sponsor considers friendly, his staff said.

The bill, HB 3279, was introduced by Rep. Larry Galizio (D-Tigard) on March 13 and would protect both high school and college students from censorship by school officials. The bill, modeled after a similar bill that was introduced in Washington state, was intended to “strengthen and clarify” free expression protections in the state, Galizio said.

The bill passed the Judiciary Committee on an 6-2 vote.

Galizio Chief of Staff Brad Cantor said the amendments attached to the bill were not hostile, and Galizio agreed to them during the hearing. The pertinent amendments to the bill, posted online May 11, remove “advertising” from the list of protected means of expression and allows students suing under the proposed statute to obtain $100 in damages and “injunctive and declaratory relief.” The original bill allowed for the awarding of attorney’s fees and costs.

The bill will now move to a vote in the full House. Cantor said that while the bill is “not scheduled yet” he expects it is “definitely going to be brought to the House floor.”

Monday was the deadline for the bill to be voted out of committee and still be considered this session. If the measure passes the Oregon House of Representatives it will be sent to the Oregon Senate, where it must be heard by a committee by May 30 in order to be considered for a vote in that chamber, Cantor said.

By Scott Sternberg, SPLC staff writer

Read the original bill (without amendments)

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