(BIVN) – A bill signing ceremony was held on Monday, as the Hawaiʻi Student Journalism Protection Act was made into law.
Governor David Ige signed House Bill 1848 during the special event held at the McKinley High School auditorium. According to the description of HB1848, the measure:
Establishes freedom of speech and freedom of the press protections for student journalists producing school-sponsored media or university-sponsored media unless subject to certain exceptions. Provides legal immunity for state agencies, officers, and employees for students’ exercise of these freedoms. (SD1)
“One of my administration’s goals has been to provide students with the tools they need to be successful in their chosen careers,” said Governor Ige in a news release. “Providing student journalists with the same protections they’d have working in the industry gives them real-world learning opportunities and creates a more enhanced laboratory for learning.”
“I was honored that Ms. Cindy Reeves, the journalism teacher at McKinley High School, asked for my help with her student journalism bill,” said Speaker Scott Saiki, the introducer of the legislation. “She has been working on this issue for a number of years and wasn’t able to get it passed. Her heartfelt commitment helped me understand how important this bill would be for student journalists at McKinley and across the state. I am pleased that the rights of student journalists are codified in Hawaiʻi’s law.”
“Our newest journalists should be encouraged to investigate, report, and opine on the issues of today without concern that the school administration will censor the content of their work,” said Sen. Karl Rhoads, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The State says the new law goes into effect immediately.