Latest news on legislation to protect Hawaii student journalists

This story will be updated as new information is available regarding New Voices legislation in Hawaii.

Apr. 15, 2020

The Senate EDU committee heard HB1529. Two students and two advisers spoke in support. The committee recommended that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in EDU were as follows: 4 Aye(s): Senator(s) Kidani, Kim, Kanuha, Fevella; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 0 No(es): none; and 1 Excused: Senator(s) Dela Cruz. It was re-referred to EDU and JDC. However, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Legislature is currently in recess until further notice. All previously scheduled hearings have been canceled and no additional hearings or public meetings will be scheduled until further notice. The amendments were not published before the recess.
The Star Advertiser published an editorial supporting HB1529

Mar. 9, 2020

The Senate EDU committee has scheduled a hearing for HB1529 HD2 Wed. Mar. 11 at 2:45 in Rm. 229. You can submit testimony now. Testimony received less than 24 hours before the hearing begins will be marked “late.”

Mar. 4, 2020

HB1529 HD2 unanimously passed Third Reading on the House floor Tuesday. It has been sent to the Senate and assigned to the EDU committee. Please call or email chair Sen. Michelle Kidani and let her know you would like her to hear the bill. Be sure to create an account at and request hearing notifications for the bill. Once a hearing date is set, please submit testimony again or, better yet, attend the hearing.
Phone 808-586-7100
E-Mail: [email protected]

Feb. 28, 2020

The bill goes before the House Tuesday, Mar. 3. If it passes, it will cross to the Senate and be assigned to committees. Civil Beat wrote an editorial in support of the bill. Journalists from Mid-Pac, Iolani, and McKinley High School visited the Capitol today and were recognized on the Senate floor.

Feb. 21, 2020

The bill passed unanimously from FIN with amendments. A DOE representative was at the hearing to stand on their testimony. McKinley’s adviser provided in-person testimony. The amendments add hate speech and speech promoting illegal activity as unprotected speech.

Feb. 19, 2020

HB1529 HD1 will be heard by FIN on Friday, Feb. 21. Testimony is accepted online until Thursday at 11 a.m.

Feb. 11, 2020

The House Judiciary committee passed HB1529 HD1 unanimously. The final House committee that needs to hear it is Finance. If you can, contact Chair Rep. Sylvia Luke at [email protected] or 808-586-6200 and urge her to hear the bill. It must be heard by Feb. 27 or it dies for this session. Once a hearing is set, be sure to submit testimony once again! And testify in person if possible. It makes a difference, and it’s not too scary.

Feb. 7, 2020

HB1529 HD1 got a hearing with Judiciary, Monday Feb. 10 at 2:05 in Conference Room 325 at the State Capitol. We’re 11th on the list of bills for this hearing. Email [email protected] if you  want to testify in person. Also, you can submit written testimony again. This time, if you are a journalism student or adviser  be sure to comment that you learn/teach news value, press law, and journalism ethics.

Feb. 3, 2020

HB1529 has been amended. In future emails about this bill, please refer to it as HB1529 HD1   We are still waiting for JUD to schedule a hearing. If you haven’t already done so, contact Rep. Chris Lee to let him know you want a hearing: [email protected].

SB2608 still hasn’t been scheduled for a hearing. Please let Sens. Donna Mercado Kim and Michelle Kidani know you want a hearing: [email protected]  and [email protected],

Register at so you can track the bills, get notifications of committee hearings, and submit testimony.

Jan. 31, 2020

Please take the time to thank these Hawaii representatives for voting to pass HB1529 out of the Lower and Higher Education Committee on Thursday, Jan. 30. Rep. Ohno is the bill’s sponsor and Rep. Woodson made sure the bill got a hearing.
[email protected]
[email protected]

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

Jan 30, 2020

HB1529 passed LHE!
Two students, a high school adviser and the president of Hawaii Publishers Association testified in person and 13 testimonies were submitted online in support. The DOE testified with some concerns.
Now, if you haven’t contacted [email protected] of JUD, do so and urge him to hear the bill.
A hearing for SB2608 hasn’t been set, so make sure [email protected] and [email protected] know you want a hearing.

Jan. 28, 2020

HB1529 has been scheduled for a hearing at 2:20 Thurs. Jan. 30 in House conference room 309. You can submit testimony at until 2:20 Wed. Jan. 29. If you can attend the hearing, so much the better.

Jan. 27, 2020

How you can help right now

  1. Contact committee chairs to urge them to hear the bill:
  1. Watch the Student Press Law Center webinar on preparing testimony January 30 at 3 pm HST After Jan. 30, email [email protected] for a link to the recorded video.
  2. Register at so you can track the bills, get notifications of committee hearings, and submit testimony.
  3. Testify in person!

For information about the New Voices movement nationwide, visit this link.

Jan. 24, 2020

Senate Bill

We have a senate bill! Here is a link to SB2608, which is called Hawaii Student Journalism Protection Act.

It has been assigned to EDU/HRE, JUD. The EDU and HRE committees usually meet at 2:45 p.m.

It is sponsored by Senator Les Ihara.

Other introducers of the bill are:

  • Stanley Chang
  • Kaiali‘i Kahele
  • Donna Mercado Kim
  • Kanuha Dru Mamoanuha

If any of these senators represent your home or school district, email them to thank them for their support of scholastic journalism.

House Bill

HB1529 will get another go this session. It is called Hawaii Student Free Expression Bill.

Here is its legislative page. Last year, it was assigned to LHE, JUD, FIN. It has not been reassigned yet. The LHE committee usually meets at 2 p.m. daily.

HB1529 is sponsored by Representative Takashi Ohno.

Other introducers of the bill are:

  • Della Au Belatti
  • Tom Brower
  • Romy Cachola
  • Richard Creagan
  • Lynn Decoite
  • Cedric Gates
  • Mark Hashem
  • Troy Hashimoto
  • Linda Ichiyama
  • Chris Lee
  • Nicole Lowen
  • Lauren Matsumoto
  • Bob McDermott
  • John Mizuno                   .
  • Dee Morikawa
  • Mark Nakashima
  • Val Okimoto
  • Sean Quinlan
  • Gregg Takayama
  • Cynthia Thielen
  • Chris Todd
  • Gene Ward
  • Tina Wildberger
  • Justin Woodson
  • Kyle Yamashita
  • Joy San Buenaventura

If any of these representatives serve your home or school district, email them to thank them for their support of scholastic journalism.