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.

As of March 22, 2021, New Voices legislation has been introduced in ten states with more expected. Bills are now under consideration in Hawaii, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Iowa, Tennessee, West Virginia and Texas. New Voices coalitions are working hard in at least a dozen others toward future legislation.

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.

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Model Bill

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Annotated & Explained Bill

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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, Virginia law protects the rights of college students only, and 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).

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Key tools and resources

Additional reading

Timeline of Student Press Legislative Protections