Nevada governor signs New Voices bill into law

NEVADA—Nevada students and journalists alike rejoiced when Gov. Sandoval signed Senate Bill 240 into law late Friday night.

READ THE LAW: Nevada New Voices Act (2017)

The New Voices legislation, which takes effect Oct. 1, will enshrine greater First Amendment freedoms in public schools and universities.

Sen. Nicole Cannizzaro (D-Las Vegas) sponsored the bill, which increases protection for students’ editorial judgement in their media, and prohibits administrations from punishing students or their advisers who have not violated the school’s policy.

Some standards of what would qualify as a disruption substantial enough to be deemed a policy violation include advocating for students to skip classes, encouraging them to ignore their teachers’ instructions – anything that prevents the school from carrying out its educational mission.

What this bill enshrines is the freedom for critical political and social commentary, including criticism targeted at their own school and community. The bill still prohibits unlawful speech such as libel, invasion of privacy, threatening or bullying.

Sen. Cannizzaro emailed local journalists and supporters of the bill after Gov. Sandoval signed it to congratulate them on their hard work.

“Thank you everyone who has worked on this bill, from helping to draft language, to reviewing language, to showing up to hearings, to calling representatives and the governor urging support,” she wrote. “I could not have helped to get this legislation passed without all of the hard work so many people have put into this effort.”

SPLC staff writer Marjorie Kirk can be reached by email or (202) 974-6317

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