New Voices of Missouri (2019)

A New Voices bill (Cronkite New Voices HB 743) was introduced on Jan. 31, 2019, marking the fourth time the legislation has been proposed. The bill’s prime sponsor is Rep. Craig Fishel (R-District 136).

The 2019 Missouri General Assembly is in session from January 9 to May 17. The bill went before the General Laws Committee on Feb. 6. Here is SPLC’s coverage of the Feb. 8 and Feb. 13 hearings. For other coverage, scroll down this page to “Recent news.”

The bill

Here’s the text of the “Cronkite New Voices Act” HB 743.

Get involved

  • Learn the basics about the Missouri General Assembly here.
  • You can make a difference by contacting your state representatives to let them know why you support HB 743. Find out who your representatives are by entering your address into this interactive map.
  • Refine your thoughts with talking points, a printable flyer and other resources here.
  • Do what you’re most comfortable with – a phone call, email, letter, social media post to the lawmaker – or all.
  • 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 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


Missouri Journalism Education Association 
Missouri Interscholastic Press Association
Journalism St. Louis
View the list of national endorsers at the bottom of this page.

Recent news

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)