CWU News

Bill Preventing Student Censorship in Washington is Closer Than Ever to Becoming Law

Mariah VallesFor the last decade, student journalists lobbied for a law that would give them the final call on what publishes in their school newspapers. They may be closer to getting one.

A few weeks ago, Mariah Valles skipped her classes at Central Washington University, drove through Snoqualmie Pass and headed west to Olympia.

By 8 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, she was at the state Capitol building, ready to testify in front of lawmakers for the third time in two years.

“I’m here to tell you one thing: Censored news is wrong,” she told the House Judiciary committee.

Valles, 18, is among the most vocal student advocates in the state for Senate Bill 5064, which would grant student editors full editorial control of school-sponsored media, with a few exceptions (such as content that is libelous or otherwise illegal).

Called the “Zombie bill” among some critics for its endurance over the last decade, the “New Voices Act” has endured several stops and starts. Counting the 2017-2018 session, it’s been introduced four different times, in varying forms, by three different lawmakers since 2007. This year’s bill awaits a vote in the House of Representatives — the closest it’s come to the governor’s desk than ever before.

Read this story in its entirety at The Seattle Times.