New Voices

New Voices is a student-powered nonpartisan grassroots movement of state-based activists who seek to protect student press freedom with state laws. These laws counteract the impact of the 1988 Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Supreme Court decision, which dramatically changed the balance of student press rights. New Voices supporters include advocates in law, education, journalism and civics who want schools and colleges to be more welcoming places for student voices.

There are New Voices laws in 14 states: Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. In addition, there are codes protecting the rights of student journalists in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.

Read the specifics about the laws and regulations here or by clicking on the map below.

2019

New Voices bills have made significant strides this year, with a record number of state bills – 11 – introduced, and two measures adopted in Arkansas to strengthen protections for student journalists.

“The New Voices movement is gaining momentum across the country and this year has seen an unprecedented level of activity,” said Hadar Harris, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. “Eleven states introduced new legislation. Students and advisers in Texas and New York held well organized lobby days. Legislation passed out of committee in Nebraska, New Jersey, and Texas.”

“Protections for student journalists were significantly expanded in Arkansas after two bills were adopted during the legislative session. And the legislative season is still not over in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Hundreds of students and advisers mobilized to create new momentum on the ground that we look forward to building upon in the year to come. We are very excited about the year ahead,” Harris said.

Highlighted states below have their own New Voices pages or websites:

Arkansas added protections for college journalists and, to improve the 1995 law, passed a language revision to protect all school-sponsored student “media” as opposed to all “publications.”
Hawaii (Bill died week of Feb. 11 after not being assigned to a committee)
Indiana
Minnesota
Missouri
Nebraska March 25, 2019 update: Nebraska New Voices legislation not likely to pass in 2019, but there is optimism about the future
New Jersey
New York
Pennsylvania 
Virginia (Bill died in House Education Subcommittee #1 tie vote on Jan. 28)
Texas

During state legislative sessions in 2018, bills were introduced in seven states and passed into law in one (Washington).

Resources

Get Involved

Join your state’s campaign on Facebook: 

Note: If your state does not have an active New Voices page on Facebook, you’ll be directed to the state volunteer coordinator or SPLC’s Director of Engagement Diana Mitsu KlosPlease provide your contact information, including city and state, and tell us if you’re a student, educator or other interested party.

Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

Timeline of Student Press Legislative Protections