To learn more about Missouri New Voices, click here.
Current Status: House Bill 480 – “Cronkite New Voices Act” – sponsored by Representative Phil Christofanelli was introduced on Jan. 28, 2021. The House Elementary and Secondary Education committee approved HB 480 on April 27. It is now with the Rules – Legislative Oversight committee for review.
SB 434, sponsored by Senator Barbara Anne Washington passed Senate Progress and Development Committee by a vote of 4-1 on March 10, 2021.
2020: HB 2317, the Cronkite New Voices Act, was introduced by Representative Phil Christofanelli on January 29. The House Special Committee on Career Readiness approved the legislation in February; the Rules committee concurred in March. The bill made its way all the way to consideration by the full House, but was stymied when the legislative session was truncated due to COVID-19.
In 2019, the Missouri House of Representatives voted 147-3 in support of HB 743, sponsored by Representative Craig Fishel. 2019 marked the fourth consecutive year New Voices legislation passed the House, but did not receive a hearing in the Senate. The legislation was supported in 2019 by the Missouri Press Association, the Missouri chapter of the National Education Association, and the ACLU of Missouri.
- Learn the basics about the Missouri General Assembly here.
- 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.
- 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, please get in touch if you are or were a student journalist (or adviser) who was the target of censorship, intimidation or retaliation:
- Mitch Eden: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Like and follow the New Voices of Missouri Facebook page.
- Enlist all your friends in Missouri 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.
Why Missouri needs New Voices
- Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier
- Messenger: Student journalists send message to school boards over COVID-19: ‘You failed us.’ (10-28-2020) St. Louis Post-Dispatch
- Lindenwood Legacy students get short notice before school cancels print budget, (7-16-2018) College Media Matters
- The print edition of a Missouri university’s magazine has been canceled. Editors say it’s retaliation and censorship, (7-10-2018) Student Press Law Center
- Student Press Law Center October 2016 Podcast with Cathy Kuhlmeier Frey
- Gay students in Missouri had their high school yearbook quotes censored by school, (8-17-2017), Student Press Law Center
- Missouri student journalists fear censorship after administrators request review of edgy stories, (4-4-2014), Student Press Law Center
- Mo. university removes award-winning newspaper adviser, (4-26-2011), Student Press Law Center
- Missouri High School Students Sue School for Firing Their Newspaper Adviser, (12-1-1998), Student Press Law Center
- Missouri Journalism Education Association
- Missouri Interscholastic Press Association
- Journalism St. Louis
- ACLU of Missouri
- Missouri NEA
- Missouri Press Association
- View the list of national endorsers at the bottom of this page.
Missouri Student Journalists, Teachers Hope Bill Will Stop Censorship By School Admins, KBIA, Columbia, Mo. (4-4-2019) The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Craig Fishel, R-Springfield, said he is “knocking on every senator’s door,” hoping it will pass. For Fishel, the bill is personal: His wife, now retired, would tell him about cases where school officials censored her students when she was a journalism teacher in Springfield.
Cronkite Act needs to pass, Republic Monitor, Perryville, Mo. (2-15-2018) We never did report on anything scandalous or inappropriate, but the school was afraid that we would. As a result, the people in charge decided to ban our newspaper from campus and cut us from the journalism class.
It’s freedom of speech’: Student journalists testify for New Voices Act. (2/6/2019) The Missourian, Columbia, Mo.
TKC testifies in support of Cronkite New Voices Act, (2-7-2019) The Kirkwood (Mo.) Call, Kirkwood High School
OPINION: Stark: Missouri needs a New Voices law to protect student journalists, (1-28-2019), The Standard, Missouri State University, Springfield
Missouri can fix the Supreme Court’s mistake about freedom of the student press, (5-9-2018), The Kansas City Star
Student journalists in Missouri would be shielded from censorship under proposal, (2-15-2018) St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Do not silence students, (2-7-2016) News-Press, St. Joseph, Mo.
Background on past efforts
Missouri scraps student press freedom bill for third year in a row, Student Press Law Center (5-21-2018)