Legislative Update: Bills in Senate and Assembly with Editorial Support


New Jersey Senator Diane Allen (R) introduced the New Voices bill on Monday, August 1 with Senator Nia Gill (D) as the co-primary sponsor and Senator Jennifer Beck (R) as co-sponsor. We now have identical bills in both the State Senate (S-2506) and Assembly (A-4028)!

This bill will re-establish the First Amendment rights of student journalists under the Tinker standard (speech is protected unless it is illegal or may cause a material disruption to the education process). The bill also protects journalism teachers and advisers, in public high schools and institutions of higher learning, from retribution for supporting their students.

The bill was first introduced in December of 2015 by former Assemblywoman Donna Simon (A-4912). It was reintroduced in this legislative session on June 30 by Assemblywoman Gail Phoebus (R) and Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D) (A-4028).

Since the bill was reintroduced, an article was written by Kaelynn Knoernschild for the Student Press Law Center. The bill also received the support of the Editorial Board of the Times of Trenton, The Record, and Gannet Newspapers. The Gannet Editorial does have an error, however. The bill does NOT “forbid any requirement that all content be subject to administrative review before publication.”

This bill is part of the New Voices network which is supporting campaigns in 16 other states after three states (North Dakota, Maryland, and Illinois) enacted legislation in the past two years. New Voices legislation has received the endorsement of the Society of Professional Journalists, the American Society of News Editors, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Journalism Education Association.

To get regular updates on how you can support this bill “like” the New Voices of New Jersey Facebook page. Student journalists who want to advocate for their rights (and work toward’s the bill’s passage) should join the Student Chapter of the Garden State Scholastic Press Association.