Current status: LB206 was approved by the legislature on January 14, 2020 and placed on the “select file.” Opponents engaged in a filibuster against the legislation, introducing amendments designed to gut the bill and holding debates aimed at exhausting the time during which a vote must take place. Although a whip count indicated advocates had enough votes to end the filibuster, a combination of hesitation by leadership and the interruption of the legislative session due to COVID-19 meant that vote did not take place before the end of the legislative session.
2020: Legislative Bill 206, sponsored by Senator Adam Morfield, was introduced Nebraska on Jan. 11 2019.
On January 14, 2020, the full unicameral legislature voted in favor of moving the legislation forward. To see how legislators voted, click here. The bill has been placed on the “select file” and will need to be approved twice more before moving to the Governor’s desk. Opponents of the legislation are attempting a filibuster and several amendments designed to gut the protections of the bill.
In February 2019, 19 students and advocates testified before the Judiciary committee in support of the legislation. The legislation was then unanimously approved by the committee.
Despite the widespread support, a small number of legislators levied a filibuster against the legislation. This included introducing amendments designed to gut the protections for high school students and otherwise render the bill ineffective. Debate on the bill timed out under Nebraska’s legislative rules. The legislature could have voted to bring the bill back for consideration and end the debate, but a combination of hesitation by legislative leadership and the interruption of the legislative session by COVID-19 meant that vote never happened and the bill died for the year.
- You can make a difference by contacting your state senator to let them know why this legislation matters to you. Find out who your senator is here. Not sure what to say? Find our phone script and letter-writing tips here.
- Refine your thoughts with our FAQs, distribute this flyer, or find 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:
- Like and follow the New Voices of Nebraska Facebook page.
- Enlist all your friends in Nebraska 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 Nebraska needs New Voices
- Nebraska student journalists take fight for press rights to Legislature, Omaha World-Herald. Includes interview with students who say their journalism adviser at Millard West High School was punished for standing up for their First Amendment rights.
- Wayne State College dismisses two faculty from adviser positions, Student Press Law Center
- A list of incidents suppressing student expression in Nebraska, compiled by the Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska
- Nebraska Press Association
- Nebraska Broadcasters Association
- Nebraska High School Press Association
- Nebraska Collegiate Media Association
- Nebraska State Education Association
- Academic Freedom Coalition of Nebraska (AFCON)
- ACLU of Nebraska
- You can see the list of national endorsers at the bottom of this page.
- Protections for student journalists gets first-round OK, Lincoln Journal Star (1-14-2020)
- Giving way to new voices, Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald, (1-23-2020)
- Nebraska New Voices bill times out for this session, but will be back in 2020. Student Press Law Center (6-20-19)
- New Voices Bill hits Nebraska Senate Floor, The Catalyst, Millard West High School, Omaha, Neb. (3-14-2019)
- Student journalists would get protection under bill endorsed by Missouri House, St. Louis Post-Dispatch (2-26-2019)
- Editorial: LB 206 shows importance of autonomous student journalism, Wayne Stater, Wayne (Neb.) State College (2-15-2019)
- Senator Morfeld brings Student Press Freedom LB206 before Nebraska’s Judiciary Committee, The Thunderbeat, Bellevue West Senior High School (2-7-2019)
- Free speech protections proposed for student journalists, advisers, Unicameral Update, (2-1-2019)
- Student journalists testify in favor of bill that would give student publications greater freedom, Omaha (Neb.) World-Herald (2-1-2019)
- Bill protects student journalists, The Antelope, University of Nebraska-Kearney (1-31-2019)
- EDITORIAL: Students deserve equal rights, Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star Herald (1-20-2019)
- Students’ right to speak, letter to the editor, Kearney (Neb. ) Hub (7-9-2018)
- OPINION: Support student journalism, Doane Online, Doane College, Crete, Neb. (2-21-2018)
- Editorial, 2/9: Student journalists deserve more protection, Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star (2-9-2018)
- Nebraska student journalists take fight for press rights to Legislature, Omaha World-Herald (2-19-2018)
- Give freedoms back to student journalists, guest column in the North Platte (Neb.) Telegraph (2-8-2018)