House Bill #5550 (2017)

AN ACT RELATING TO EDUCATION -- STUDENT JOURNALISTS' FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ACT

Creates the Student Journalists' Freedom of Expression Act protecting student journalists' right to exercise freedom of speech in school-sponsored media.

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Changes since original draft

  • 2017 – H 5550
  • 2017 – H 5550 SUBSTITUTE A AS AMENDED
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  • LC001039
  • LC001039/SUB A
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  • S TATE OF RHODE IS L AND
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2017
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO EDUCATION – STUDENT JOURNALISTS' FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
  • ACT
  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2017
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO EDUCATION – STUDENT JOURNALISTS' FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
  • ACT
  • Introduced By: Representatives O`Grady, Maldonado, Kazarian, Keable, and
  • Blazejewski
  • Blazejewski
  • Date Introduced: February 16, 2017
  • Referred To: House Judiciary
  • It is enacted by the GeneralAssembly as follows:
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Title 16 of the General Laws entitled "EDUCATION" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following chapter:
  • CHAPTER 107
  • STUDENT JOURNALISTS' FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ACT
  • CHAPTER 107
  • STUDENT JOURNALISTS' FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION ACT
  • 16-107-1. Short title.
  • This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Student Journalists' Freedom of Expression Act".
  • 16-107-2. Definitions.
  • As used in this section:
  • (1) "School-sponsored media" means any material that is prepared, substantially written, published, or broadcast by a student journalist at an institution under the supervision of the council on elementary and secondary education and the council on postsecondary education, both public and private, distributed, or generally made available to members of the student body, and prepared under the direction of a student media advisor.
  • (1) "School-sponsored media" means any material that is prepared, substantially written, published, or broadcast by a student journalist at an institution under the supervision of the council on elementary and secondary education and the council on postsecondary education, both public and private, distributed, or generally made available to members of the student body, and prepared under the direction of a student media advisor. School-sponsored media does not include content intended for distribution or transmission only in the classroom in which it is produced.
  • (2) "Student journalist" means a student of an institution under the supervision of the council on elementary and secondary education and the council on postsecondary education, both public and private, who gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, or prepares information for dissemination in school-sponsored media.
  • (3) "Student media advisor" means an individual employed, appointed, or designated by an institution under the supervision of the council on elementary and secondary education and the council on postsecondary education, both public and private, to supervise or provide instruction relating to school-sponsored media.
  • 16-107-3. Student journalists' freedom of expression – Civil remedy.
  • (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a student journalist has the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press in both school-sponsored media and non-school- sponsored media, regardless of whether the media is supported financially by the school, local education agency (LEA), or uses the facilities of the school or LEA, or produced in conjunction with a class in which the student is enrolled. Subject to subsection (b) of this section, a student journalist is responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature, and advertising content of school-sponsored media. This subsection may not be construed to prevent a student media advisor from teaching professional standards of English and journalism to student journalists.
  • (a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a student journalist has the right to exercise freedom of speech and of the press in both school-sponsored media and non-school- sponsored media, regardless of whether the media is supported financially by the school, local education agency "(LEA)", or uses the facilities of the school or LEA, or produced in conjunction with a class in which the student is enrolled. Subject to subsection (b) of this section, a student journalist is responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature, and advertising content of school-sponsored media. This subsection may not be construed to prevent a student media advisor from teaching professional standards of English and journalism to student journalists.
  • (b) This section does not authorize or protect expression by a student that:
  • (1) Is libelous or slanderous;
  • (2) Constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;
  • (3) Violates federalor state law; or
  • (3) Violates federal or state law; or
  • (4) So incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of an unlawful act, the violation of school district policy, or the material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the institution. Administrators must base a forecast of material and substantial disruption on specific facts, including past experience in the school and current events influencing student behavior, and not on undifferentiated fear or apprehension.
  • (c) A student journalist may not be disciplined for acting in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.
  • (d) A student media advisor may not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against for:
  • (1) Acting to protect a student journalist engaged in conduct under subsection (a) of this section; or
  • (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing the publication of an advertisement in school-sponsored media at an institution under the supervision of the council on elementary and secondary education that promotes the purchase of a product or service that is unlawful for purchase or use by minors.
  • (d) A student journalist may not be disciplined for acting in accordance with subsection (a) of this section.
  • (e) A student media advisor may not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against for:
  • (1) Acting to protect a student journalist engaged in permissible conduct under subsection (a) of this section; or
  • (2) Refusing to infringe on conduct that is protected by this chapter or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
  • (e) Each institution, school or LEA subject to this statute may adopt a written student freedom of expression policy in accordance with this section. The policy must include reasonable provisions for the time, place, and manner of student expression. The policy may also include limitations to language that may be defined as profane, harassing, threatening, or intimidating.
  • LC001039 - Page 2of 4
  • (f) No institution subject to this statute may sanction a student operating as an independent journalist.
  • (g) Any student, individually or through parent or guardian, or student media advisor may institute proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce the rights provided in this section.
  • SECTION 2. This act shalltake effect upon passage. ======== LC001039 ========
  • LC001039 - Page 3of 4
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • (e) Each institution, school or LEA subject to this chapter may adopt a written student freedom of expression policy in accordance with this section. The policy must include reasonable provisions for the time, place, and manner of student expression. For institutions under the supervision of the council on elementary and secondary education, the policy may also include limitations to language that may be defined as profane, harassing, threatening, or intimidating.
  • (f) No expression made by students in the exercise of free speech or free press rights shall be deemed to be an expression of school policy, and no school officials or school district shall be held responsible in any civil or criminal action for any expression made or published by students.
  • (g) Any student, individually or through a parent or guardian, or student media advisor may institute proceedings for injunctive or declaratory relief in any court of competent jurisdiction to enforce the rights provided in this section.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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  • LC001039/SUB A
  • ========
  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T RELATING TO EDUCATION – STUDENT JOURNALISTS' FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
  • ACT
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO EDUCATION – STUDENT JOURNALISTS' FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
  • ACT
  • ***
  • This act would create the Student Journalists' Freedom of Expression Act protecting student journalists' right to exercise freedom of speech in school-sponsored media.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC001039 ========
  • LC001039 - Page 4of 4
  • This act would create the Student Journalists' Freedom of Expression Act protecting student journalists' right to exercise freedom of speech in school-sponsored media.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC001039/SUB A ========

Votes

NOTE: Electronic voting records are unofficial and may not be accurate. For an official vote tally, check the House or Senate Journal from the day of the vote.

Floor vote for PASSAGE PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT

June 29, 2017 at 5:33pm
Yeas: 69 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 6 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida Y
Rep. Amore Y
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros NV
Rep. Bennett Y
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson Y
Rep. Casey NV
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Chippendale Y
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino NV
Rep. Coughlin Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Cunha Y
Rep. Diaz Y
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela Y
Rep. Filippi Y
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Giarrusso Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hearn Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian NV
Rep. Keable Y
Rep. Kennedy Y
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lancia Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marshall Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee Y
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendonca Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Morgan Y
Rep. Morin Y
Rep. Nardolillo Y
Rep. Newberry Y
Rep. Nunes Y
Rep. O'Brien Y
Rep. O'Grady Y
Rep. Perez Y
Rep. Phillips NV
Rep. Price Y
Rep. Quattrocchi Y
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Regunberg NV
Rep. Roberts Y
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Tanzi Y
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci Y
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh Y
Rep. Williams Y
Rep. Winfield Y

Floor vote for PASSAGE AS AMENDED

June 29, 2017 at 5:34pm
Yeas: 72 / Nays: 0 / Not voting: 3 / Recused: 0
Legislator Vote
Rep. Abney Y
Rep. Ackerman Y
Rep. Ajello Y
Rep. Almeida Y
Rep. Amore Y
Rep. Azzinaro Y
Rep. Barros Y
Rep. Bennett Y
Rep. Blazejewski Y
Rep. Canario Y
Rep. Carson Y
Rep. Casey Y
Rep. Casimiro Y
Rep. Chippendale Y
Rep. Corvese Y
Rep. Costantino NV
Rep. Coughlin Y
Rep. Craven Y
Rep. Cunha Y
Rep. Diaz Y
Rep. Donovan Y
Rep. Edwards Y
Rep. Fellela Y
Rep. Filippi Y
Rep. Fogarty Y
Rep. Giarrusso Y
Rep. Handy Y
Rep. Hearn Y
Rep. Hull Y
Rep. Jacquard Y
Rep. Johnston Y
Rep. Kazarian NV
Rep. Keable Y
Rep. Kennedy Y
Rep. Knight Y
Rep. Lancia Y
Rep. Lima Y
Rep. Lombardi Y
Rep. Maldonado Y
Rep. Marshall Y
Rep. Marszalkowski Y
Rep. Mattiello Y
Rep. McEntee Y
Rep. McKiernan Y
Rep. McLaughlin Y
Rep. McNamara Y
Rep. Mendonca Y
Rep. Messier Y
Rep. Morgan Y
Rep. Morin Y
Rep. Nardolillo Y
Rep. Newberry Y
Rep. Nunes Y
Rep. O'Brien Y
Rep. O'Grady Y
Rep. Perez Y
Rep. Phillips NV
Rep. Price Y
Rep. Quattrocchi Y
Rep. Ranglin-Vassell Y
Rep. Regunberg Y
Rep. Roberts Y
Rep. Ruggiero Y
Rep. Serpa Y
Rep. Shanley Y
Rep. Shekarchi Y
Rep. Slater Y
Rep. Solomon Y
Rep. Tanzi Y
Rep. Tobon Y
Rep. Ucci Y
Rep. Vella-Wilkinson Y
Rep. Walsh Y
Rep. Williams Y
Rep. Winfield Y