With heavy opposition from lobbying groups that represent principals and superintendents, Indiana’s legislature adjourned April 22 without taking final action on a proposed New Voices bill.
Reps. Ed Clere and Ed DeLaney filed HB 1130 on Jan. 5, 2017. The bill was designed to protect both K-12 and college students as well as faculty advisers.
The House Education Committee unanimously passed the bill Feb. 16 on a 13-0 vote. At a Feb. 14 hearing, 13 speakers advocating for the student media — including students, teachers, administrators and the head of the Hoosier State Press Association, as well as the SPLC’s Frank LoMonte — testified in support of the measure. The committee made friendly clarifying amendments, protecting schools and colleges against legal liability for students’ speech, as well as adding “gratuitous profanity” as grounds for K-12 schools to remove or revise articles in student media. The House then passed the measure 88-4.
The bill has received extensive media coverage from both college and professional outlets:
The bill has picked up several endorsements, including the Valparaiso University Torch.
Despite a formidable grassroots effort under the leadership of Franklin College’s Diana Hadley, opponents succeeded in raising sufficient doubts to forestall a final vote in the Senate. The key setback came when Jennifer McCormick, the state superintendent of public instruction, made a last-minute decision to oppose the bill, which resulted in sponsors yanking it from the Senate calendar.
To get involved in New Voices of Indiana, contact Diana Hadley with the Indiana High School Press Association, DHadley@franklincollege.edu, or Adam Maksl with the Indiana Collegiate Press Association, email@example.com. The campaign is on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/newvoicesindiana/.