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Free expression bill stalls for now

The+Student+Press+Law+Center%27s+Mike+Hiestand+speaks+during+a+hearing+on+the+bill+last+month.
The Student Press Law Center's Mike Hiestand speaks during a hearing on the bill last month.

The Student Press Law Center's Mike Hiestand speaks during a hearing on the bill last month.

The Student Press Law Center's Mike Hiestand speaks during a hearing on the bill last month.


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Senate Bill 6233, the bill supporting student free expression, will not move forward in this legislative session, but we have hope for next year.

Here is the text of an email that WJEA Executive Director Kathy Schrier sent on Feb. 19 to some members who had been actively working toward the bill’s passage:

The Washington “New Voices” bill stalled in the Senate Rules committee this week, and sadly, did not make it out before the deadline.

As you can imagine, our team here is pretty bummed, but at the same time, we are energized. The bill has a two-year life, which means it won’t have to start from scratch in the next cycle. We now have more time to really build on our base of support and to keep the bill on the front burner. The timing will be interesting, as a year from now, when the bill will be going though another legislative cycle, we will be preparing for the national convention in Seattle. I’m thinking the energy created by that event could be a great help, while it will certainly make for a stressful spring in 2017.

I want to thank Tom Kaup and his students, who convinced Sen. Joe Fain (R) to sponsor the bill; Vince DeMiero, who wrote op-eds and made countless contacts with legislators and members of the press to garner support; all who attended the hearing and those who testified on behalf of the bill before the Senate Education Committee; Frank LoMonte, for all his help and for establishing the national “New Voices” movement and website (with a great list of “talking points”); and of course, Senator Fain for his sponsorship and Senators Liias, Rivers, Rolfes, Litzow, Billig, Carlyle, and Mullet for co-sponsoring.

We will continue to root for all the other states that are still in the process of passing legislation this spring, hoping we can add some more states to our growing list.

With ever determination,

Kathy Schrier, MJE
WJEA executive director
member, SPRC

 

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Free expression bill stalls for now