Student free-expression bill resubmitted in Washington state senate

Student press advocates resubmitted a bill in the state Senate Jan. 15 thatwould add Washington to the list of states that protect public high school andcollege journalists from censorship.

Sen. Joe McDermott (D-Seattle) submitted SB 6449, a student free-press billalmost identical to a proposal that passed the state House of Representatives inMarch 2007 but failed to gain a vote on the Senate floor before the 2007 sessionexpired.

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SPLC View: Student press advocates in Washington have said they aretaking the long-term approach and have vowed to keep pushing this legislationuntil they are successful. Last year’s hearings before both the state Senate andHouse were standing-room only affairs, with students and journalism educatorsfrom across the state traveling to the state Capitol to show their support.Their actions also sparked a successful effort by their neighbors to the south,where last summer Oregon’s governor signed a law based largely on the Washingtonmodel. While it’s not clear they’ll have the votes this year, the Washingtonstudent press community has started something that doesn’t appear likely to fadeanytime soon.
Cite: S.B. 6449 (Wash. 2008)