The 2021-2022 school year was a ridiculously difficult time to try to pass a bill through the Texas legislative process, which is tough in a non-pandemic year. With only 140 days, starting in January and ending in May, very few bills make it through the process. This year State Rep. Mary González, filed HB 422 as a New Voices bill. Rep. Harold Dutton, Chairman of the House Public Education Committee, never scheduled a hearing for the bill so it ultimately died when the session ended on May 31.
We are now planning for the future by collecting the names of school board members, school administrators and student publications that support New Voices legislation in Texas. To do this, New Voices Texas has started a pledge program in which we are asking student publications leaders, administrators and school board members to pledge their support for passage of a New Voices law in Texas. We will use these pledges to create and publish lists of student publications, administrators and school board members who support New Voices in Texas.
We are excited to have these new officers carry the fight to pass a New Voices law in Texas forward. We all recognize that this will be a multi-year effort in which we will make progress incrementally over time and we intend to raise awareness and build a coalition that will eventually pass a state law that will cure Hazelwood and provide important protections for student press rights in Texas.