Student journalist protection bill stalls in Nebraska Legislature

Nebraska State Capitol Building
Posted at 4:49 PM, Apr 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-14 17:49:36-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A bill that would have extended free-speech protections to Nebraska student journalists and their advisers stalled in the Legislature after advancing through an initial vote last month.

Backers fell short of the support they needed after three senators switched their votes on the second of three rounds of debate. Lawmakers voted 30-17 to overcome a filibuster by opponents, but needed 33 "yes" votes.

Sen. Adam Morfeld, of Lincoln, introduced the bill following numerous incidents where Nebraska high school administrators censored student newspaper articles they deemed too controversial or unflattering. The bill would have applied to students at public high schools, colleges and universities and would have included exceptions for stories that are libelous or violate journalism ethics.

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