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Monday, March 12, 2007

Pressing Bill

posted by on March 12 at 16:34 PM

Democratic House leadership is supposedly moving on my favorite bill tonight: SeaTac Representative Dave Upthegrove’s (D-33) student press bill.

It was supposed to hit the floor for a vote on Friday. I waited and waited into the evening instead of getting going on my Friday night drinking. No bill. It was supposed to make it to the floor again on Saturday. Nope.

So, supposedly it’s hitting tonight. Reportedly, the GOP has some amendments lined up, similar to the ones they tried to tack on in committee that would limit the bill by excluding high schoolers from the press protections.

Representative Upthegrove’s bill would raise the hurdle that school admistrators must meet to justify censorship of high school and college papers. It would, as states are allowed to do, provide more protection for students than the current federal guarantees contained in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1988 Hazelwood standard.

Hazelwood holds that the school adminstration simply has to find an educational purpose for censoring stories, including demonstrating that the article in question may disrupt the educational environment. Upthegrove’s bill pushes a tougher standard, the Tinker standard (a 1969 Supreme Court ruling that was weakened by Hazelwood) which gave student speech the same First Amendment guarantess that exist in the real world. It’s a sentimental fave of mine, and, as a recent story in the Stranger shows, germane.

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UW students look forward to the legislation as well, even though campus newspapers already enjoy that freedom. The ASUW Student Senate passed a resolution earlier this year:

Posted by Bryce | March 12, 2007 10:51 PM

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