HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

781

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to student journalism.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Hawaii Student Journalism Protection Act.

SECTION 2. The legislature finds that states may enhance the protections guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution through state laws and regulations. The legislature further finds that student journalists attending Hawaii public schools and colleges need additional protection against censorship, and that advisors need additional protections against retaliation for refusing to illegally censor student journalists.

The purpose of this Act is to establish the Hawaii Student Journalism Protection Act in order to:

(1) Allow student journalists at public schools and colleges to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of the press in school-sponsored media; and

(2) Protect advisors from retaliation for refusing to infringe upon student press freedom.

SECTION 3. Chapter 302A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"302A-    Student journalists; school sponsored media. (a) A student journalist shall be allowed to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of the press in school-sponsored media and shall not be disciplined for acting in accordance with this section. A student journalist is responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature, and advertising content of school-sponsored media.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a student media advisor from teaching professional standards of English language use and journalism to student journalists or determining grades and credit for such purposes.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or protect student expression that:

(1) Is libelous or slanderous;

(2) Constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;

(3) Violates state or federal law;

(4) Is obscene; or

(5) So incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of an unlawful act, the violation of unlawful school or board policies, or the material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school; provided that the determination of a risk of material and substantial disruption shall be based upon specific facts including past experience in the school and current events influencing student behavior, and not on undifferentiated fear or apprehension.

(d) There shall be no prior constraint of material prepared for school-sponsored media except as provided in subsection (c). School officials shall have the burden of showing justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of student expression under this section and shall establish a reasonable period of review for material prepared for school-sponsored media. If the period of review elapses without a decision, the material prepared for school-sponsored media shall be considered authorized.

(e) No publication or other expression of material by student journalists in the exercise of rights under this section shall be deemed to be an expression of the school, board, or department. No state agency, member of the board, officer of the department, or employee of any agency or the board shall be held responsible in any civil or criminal action for the publication or other expression of material by student journalists in the exercise of rights under this section.

(f) A student media advisor shall not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against for:

(1) Acting to protect a student journalist engaged in conduct protected under this section or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; or

(2) Refusing to infringe on conduct that is protected by this section or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(g) The board shall adopt a written policy for the exercise of the right of student journalists to freedom of speech and the press in school-sponsored media in accordance with this section; provided that the policy shall include:

(1) Reasonable provisions for the time, place, and manner of distribution of student expression; and

(2) A procedure for the timely appeal of decisions made pursuant to this section.

(h) For the purposes of this section:

"School-sponsored media" means any material:

(1) Prepared, written, published, or broadcast in any media by a student journalist at a school;

(2) Distributed or generally made available, either free of charge or for a fee, to members of the student body; and

(3) Prepared under the direction of a student media advisor, regardless of whether the material is supported financially by the school or by use of facilities of the public school or produced in conjunction with a class for which the student is enrolled.

"School-sponsored media" does not include material intended for distribution or transmission for classroom purposes only.

"Student journalist" means a student who determines, gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, or prepares information or advertising for inclusion in school-sponsored media.

"Student media advisor" means an individual employed, appointed, or designated by a school to supervise or provide instruction relating to school-sponsored media."

SECTION 4. Chapter 304A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows

"304A-    Student journalists; university sponsored media. (a) A student journalist shall be allowed to exercise freedom of speech and freedom of the press in university-sponsored media and shall not be disciplined for acting in accordance with this section. A student journalist is responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature, and advertising content of university-sponsored media.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a student media advisor from teaching professional standards of English language use and journalism to student journalists or determining grades and credit for such purposes.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or protect student expression that:

(1) Is libelous or slanderous;

(2) Constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy;

(3) Violates state or federal law;

(4) Is obscene; or

(5) So incites students as to create a clear and present danger of the commission of an unlawful act, the violation of unlawful university policies, or the material and substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the university; provided that the determination of a risk of material and substantial disruption shall be based upon specific facts including past experience in the university and current events influencing student behavior, and not on undifferentiated fear or apprehension.

(d) There shall be no prior constraint of material prepared for university-sponsored media except as provided in subsection (c). University officials shall have the burden of showing justification without undue delay prior to a limitation of student expression under this section and shall establish a reasonable period of review for material prepared for university-sponsored media. If the period of review elapses without a decision, the material prepared for university-sponsored media shall be considered authorized.

(e) No publication or other expression of material by student journalists in the exercise of rights under this section shall be deemed to be an expression of the university or the board of regents. No state agency, member of the board of regents, officer of the department, or employee of any agency or the board of regents shall be held responsible in any civil or criminal action for the publication or other expression of material by student journalists in the exercise of rights under this section.

(f) A student media advisor shall not be dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred, or otherwise retaliated against for:

(1) Acting to protect a student journalist engaged in conduct protected under this section or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution; or

(2) Refusing to infringe on conduct that is protected by this section or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

(g) The board of regents shall adopt a written policy for the exercise of the right of student journalists to freedom of speech and the press in university-sponsored media in accordance with this section; provided that the policy shall include:

(1) Reasonable provisions for the time, place, and manner of distribution of student expression; and

(2) A procedure for the timely appeal of decisions made pursuant to this section.

(h) For the purposes of this section:

"Student journalist" means a student who determines, gathers, compiles, writes, edits, photographs, records, or prepares information or advertising for inclusion in university-sponsored media.

"Student media advisor" means an individual employed, appointed, or designated by the university to supervise or provide instruction relating to university-sponsored media.

"University-sponsored media" means any material:

(1) Prepared, written, published, or broadcast in any media by a student journalist in the university system;

(2) Distributed or generally made available, either free of charge or for a fee, to members of the student body; and

(3) Prepared under the direction of a student media advisor, regardless of whether the material is supported financially by the school or by use of facilities of the university or produced in conjunction with a class for which the student is enrolled.

"University-sponsored media" does not include material intended for distribution or transmission for classroom purposes only."

SECTION 5. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Student journalism; School-sponsored Media; University-sponsored Media; Freedom of Press

 

Description:

Establishes freedom of press protections for student journalists producing school-sponsored media or university-sponsored media unless subject to certain exceptions.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.