New Voices in Nebraska (2019-2020)

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.

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  • 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

Endorsements

Recent News

Background on past efforts

LB886 dies in committee 2018

LB886 hearing overview 2018

Daily Nebraskan story about LB886 introduction

Introduction of 2016 New Voices bill to protect only college students

Hearing overview of 2016 bill