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.

In 2020 there is strong momentum, with New Voices volunteers active in 16 states, and bills expected to be filed in multiple states. Along with the 14 states that already have New Voices laws, that’s more than half the country.

For more information or to get involved, contact New Voices Advocacy and Campaign Organizer Hillary Davis at hdavis@splc.org. Along with your contact information (including city and state), please indicate if you’re a student, educator or other interested party.

Here are the 14 states with laws that protect the First Amendment rights of student journalists:

Read the specifics about the laws and regulations here. In addition, there are codes protecting the rights of student journalists in the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania.

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

2019

New Voices bills have made significant strides, 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:

Resources

Timeline of Student Press Legislative Protections