The bill states that "student editors of school-sponsored media are responsible for determining the news, opinion, feature, and advertising content of the media" except in cases where the speech is unlawful, such as when it's libelous or obscene, or "materially and substantially disruptive," a standard taken from the landmark 1969 U.S. Supreme Court case, Tinker v. Des Moines, which limited censorship by school officials and protected the First Amendment rights of students to peacefully express themselves at school.
As the The Seattle Times noted, "free-speech legislation for student journalists has been expanding throughout the country. In 2007, following Washington state’s initial bill proposal, Oregon unanimously passed a similar student-expression law prohibiting administrative censorship of journalism."
About a half-dozen other states have passed such legislation, and bills have been filed in a number of states including Arizona, New Jersey, Vermont, Missouri and Indiana.
Earlier this month, the Times officially endorsed the bill.
"[I]t would empower student journalists to dive more deeply in journalism at this critical moment in media literacy," the Times editorial board wrote. "Now more than ever the nation needs a vigorous press and smart, civically engaged young citizens."
The bill, SB 5064, now moves on to the Senate Rules committee before heading to the Senate floor for a full vote.