For more on New Voices Hawaii, visit the Hawaii Scholastic Journalism Association.
Current Status: HB 781, sponsored by Representative Takashi Ohno, and SB 214, sponsored by Senator Les Ihara, were introduced in January 2021. Each bill will need to be heard and cleared by two committees before moving to final approval. The bills did not pass out of their respective chambers by crossover day.
2020: The 2019-2020 legislative session brought New Voices legislation to Hawaii for the first time since the 1980s. Sponsored by Representative Takashi Ohno, HB 1529 has more than two dozen cosponsors, and carried over for consideration in 2020. In 2020, Senator Les Ihara, Jr. introduced SB 2608.
The Hawaii legislature refers legislation to multiple committees for their consideration. HB 1529 was unanimously approved by the Lower and Higher Education and Judiciary committees in February 2020, and an amended version was approved unanimously by the House Finance committee. The amended legislation was unanimously approved by the full House in March and swiftly approved by the Senate Education committee. However, the bill was stalled as a result of COVID-19’s impact on the legislative session. With a few amendments needed to perfect the legislation and a desire to avoid amending bills in conference committee during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate Judiciary committee deferred the bill.
The Senate committees did not hear SB 2608, but could have passed the House legislation without considering the Senate’s version.
- Contact your state legislators to let them know why this bill is important to you. Find out who your legislators are here. Not sure what to say? Check out our phone script and letter-writing tips here.
- Submit your testimony directly to the legislature here.
- Refine your thoughts with talking points, a printable flyer and other resources here.
- Get looped in with volunteer coordinators to let them know about your efforts and learn about other ways to get involved:
- Cindy Reves, email@example.com
- Like and follow New Voices of Hawaii on Facebook.
- Enlist all your friends in Hawaii to raise their voices in support of this measure, which ensures the basic First Amendment rights of student journalists and protects their advisers from retaliation.
- If you are a student or adviser who was censored, intimidated or retaliated against, contact SPLC’s legal hotline.
Why Hawaii needs New Voices
- Why Hawaii Student Journalists Feel the Need to Censor Themselves. Honolulu Civil Beat. (1-29-19)
You can see the list of national endorsers at the bottom of this page.
- Student Press Freedom Bill Dies in Committee. Honolulu Civil Beat. (6-30-2020)
- Hawaiʻi bill would limit censorship for public school newsrooms. Ka Leo (University of Hawai’i at Manoa). (4-17-2020)
- Hawaii bill would protect school newspapers’ rights. Honolulu Star Advertiser. (3-2020)
- Lawmakers Take A Stand For The First Amendment. Honolulu Civil Beat. (2-28-2020)