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Arizona Lawmakers In Favor Of Guaranteeing Student Journalists' Free Speech

Upholding the First Amendment, Arizona lawmakers are in favor of guaranteeing free speech to student journalists.

In the House Monday, lawmakers voted 41-19 to have colleges and school administrators leave the oversight for student journalists to the teachers and advisers. Administrators would only be allowed to block publications when they could prove it is justified.

Republican Rep. David Stringer argued he has no issue granting that freedom to college journalists, but not when it comes to granting that same right to high school students as young as 13.

String asked fellow House members, “(Does) it really make sense to allow minors to have statutorily protected free speech and to limit the ability of school administrators to determine whether publications in a tax-supported student newspaper are appropriate?"

Democratic Rep. Ray Martinez replied, "I think there's a lot of young folks out there have a lot of talent. And I think that's where good journalism comes from."

For example, he reminded floor members of a Kansas high school where student journalists forced the firing of their principal after revealing she did not earn a degree from an accredited university.

The measure returns to the Senate Tuesday for a final vote. If approved, it heads to the governor.