New Voices Bill is One Step Closer

On Wednesday, March 17, Bill A169 will be heard in the Assembly Education Committee.

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New Voices of New Jersey

The Assembly Education Committee Hearing puts us one step closer to these bills becoming law. The Senate version of the bill (S108), sponsored by Assemblywoman Nia Gill and Assemblywoman Shirley Turner, passed on the floor last year by a vote of 40-0. Bill A169 is sponsored by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo and Assemblyman Harold Wirths and has 21 bipartisan sponsors.

New Voices of New Jersey bills protect the First Amendment rights of student journalists in public high schools and colleges. They also protect advisers from retribution for supporting the rights of their students. These bills restore editorial control to the journalists working on scholastic publications that was taken away by the 1988 Hazelwood v Kuhlmeier Supreme Court decision.

For more on New Voices of New Jersey, see the video above. The first 5 minutes feature an introduction and legislative sponsors Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield, and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn. The next 17 minutes feature a discussion by student journalists about the importance of scholastic journalism along with their experiences with censorship and self-censorship. The last five minutes of the video feature Cathy Kuhlmeier discussing the landmark case she was involved in and why New Voices is needed now more than ever.

What can you do?
Contact the following members of the Assembly Education Committee and urge them to vote for this bill at Wednesday’s Hearing:
Assemblyman Erik Simonsen: (609) 778-2012, [email protected]
Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt (856) 435-1247, [email protected]
Assemblywoman Annette Quijano (908) 327-9119, [email protected]