Extra! Extra! Student Press Bill Passes in Oregon.
Earlier efforts were in direct response to the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier (1988) decision that enabled administrative censorship of school-sponsored vehicles that feature student speech (newspapers, musicals, graduation ceremonies, etc.). Hosty v. Carter (2005) applied this precedent to college students in the three-state region of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. By refusing to hear this case on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the 7th District Court of Appeals decision to stand, frightening free press advocates and practitioners on college campuses across America, and igniting legislative efforts in California and Illinois to strengthen collegiate press rights.
Washington State's failed efforts last spring would have protected press rights for high school and collegiate newspapers (3.13.2007 and 1.27.2007 posts, and its chief sponsor has vowed to renew this battle during the next legislative session.
J-Ideas Director Warren Watson celebrated today's triumph. The veteran journalist proclaimed, "This is an important day for all who care about the First Amendment and youth journalism. It's been more than a decade since we've had a public-policy victory such as this. Many states have failed in their attempts to legislate true First Amendment protection for youth journalists."
Watson's organization played a critical role in the bill's ultimate passage, applying lessons learned from the Oregon defeat. Mark Goodman, Executive Director of the Student Press Law Center, praised J-Ideas and touted the breakthrough: "After 12 years since Arkansas, it's great to (almost) have another law on the books!"