As of early 2019, 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.
New Voices state legislation is generally divided into three parts to reflect three different sets of stakeholders. Each part is independent of the others and is based on different case law and situations. Our goal is to approach the New Voices Act as comprehensive educational legislation that will benefit students at each stage of their development, while recognizing the differences among each educational environment.
The “New Voices” name for state-by-state nonpartisan grassroots campaigns was inspired by the John Wall New Voices Act of North Dakota, which passed unanimously with bipartisan support and became law in 2015.
High Schools – Restore Rights
New Voices restores the Tinker standard of student expression in public high schools. The 1969 Tinker Standard protects student speech unless it is libelous, an invasion of privacy or creates a “clear and present danger” or a “material and substantial disruption” of the school. The 1988 Hazelwood decision allows administrators to justify censorship of legitimate speech in curricular settings. Click on each state to see their law.
Public Colleges – Protect Rights
New Voices protects public colleges from reckless court interpretations that apply the Hazelwood standard to higher education, where almost all students involved are adults. Hosty v. Carter is one such decision, and Illinois passed a law soon after to undo its devastating effects. The following states have this protection. Click on each state to see their law.
Private Colleges – Extend Rights
New Voices extends the expression rights that public college students expect to students at private colleges. California’s Leonard Law gave private college students the same rights as their public counterparts.