House Bill 1130, also known as the New Voices bill, was created by students for students in public educational institutions. The bill proposed would institute an addition to the Constitution of Indiana in hopes to protect journalism students and advisers in high schools and universities across the state.
House Bill 1130 was scheduled for a full hearing on Tuesday, February 14, but the hearing was cut short due to lack of time and will be continued on Thursday, February 16. During the scheduled hearing, 14 people spoke in favor of the bill including six high school and college students from around the state.
In contrast to Gerike’s freedom, there were stories of explicit censorship with life-changing ramifications. In January of 2007, Amy Sorrell, an adviser at Woodlan high school, printed a one column opinion piece one of her students wrote about tolerance. Sorrell lost her job over it. A few weeks after the article, each school in the district was put under prior review. Prior review prevented the students from publishing timely news because it took so long to get permission to publish. Sorrell explained in her testimony how “students were afraid to pursue stories.” The day the school took her keys and she lost her job over a student’s work in their newspaper was the last time Sorrell taught in an Indiana public school.
In addition to those who spoke, there were droves of students sitting in on the hearing to show their support of the bill and its passing. Any student who came to the hearing got a free t-shirt and button; many students donned the shirt for the hearing creating a field of blue in support. Many students from around the state are writing and publishing and advocating stories and columns in support of House Bill 1130. If the bill passes through the house, it will move on to the senate and the process will repeat. The bill is proposed to take effect on July 1, 2017.