Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Coalition, Sen. McDermott announce new student press rights legislation

The arrival of the 2008 legislative session means the return of legislation aimed at affirming and protecting student free expression, as the Coalition for Responsible Student Expression and Sen. Joe McDermott (D - Seattle, pictured right) announced the introduction of Senate Bill 6449.

The bill is nearly identical to the one that was passed by the House of Representatives last year, HB 1307, before high schools were stripped from the bill in committee in the Senate.

“Gaining experience in real life journalism is an important part of the learning process,” McDermott said. “This puts students that much closer to success in their professional careers.”

Supporting the bill is the
Coalition for Responsible Student Expression, made up of 16 organizations, including WJEA, and the sponsor of HB 1307, Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D - Des Moines).

“I worry about a generation growing up without an appreciation of their constitutional rights and how to exercise those rights and responsibilities,” Upthegrove said. “One of the best ways to develop an appreciation of constitutional rights is to model and apply those constitutional freedoms in the school environment. This is why I introduced legislation last year, and why I will be supporting Sen. McDermott’s bill this year.”

Also sponsoring the bill are senators Adam Kline and Brian Weinstein -- both vocal supporters of the bill last year as members of the judiciary committee -- and senators Ed Murray and Jean Kohl-Welles.

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