Back to school means making new friends


Do this now: contact new partners 

New Voices is a student-driven organization, but not every legislator is going to be swayed by the arguments made by students and advisers alone. Their interest may be piqued, however, by the involvement of outside organizations who are interested in New Voices for reasons of their own. And these organizations may have robust networks they can mobilize or inside knowledge of how your state legislature works that can help catapult things forward.

Perhaps it’s a racial justice or gender equality argument that will get a legislator listening, or an outside party making clear the singularly important role student journalists play in revealing how taxpayer dollars are being used inside the schools. The more arguments made in support of New Voices legislation, the harder it is for legislators to find reasons to ignore it. Especially if you feel the conversations around New Voices have stagnated over time, unexpected organizations can breathe new life into the debate. And September is the perfect time to talk with them about it, before they get busy with their own legislative priorities.

To brainstorm the groups your state should bring on board and how to reach out, schedule a meeting with Hillary at

Back to school resources

ICYMI: SPLC has rolled out a number of resources aimed at helping your program weather the unique challenges of this school year. These include:

  • A budget toolkit full of tips and tricks for high schools and colleges to avoid or push back against COVID-related or COVID-convenient budget cuts; 
  • A budget cut tracker where you can report your budget or program cuts to the SPLC so we can track them, identify any patterns we can fight against, or even identify if the budget cuts were the result of illegal censorship; 
  • A coronavirus toolkit for covering COVID issues in your school and community; 
  • Documents to know your rights when covering protests in your community; and
  • Resources for teaching remotely. 

Report from the states 

Nebraska and New York
The Nebraska and New York legislatures reconvened their interrupted legislative sessions to finalize work left hanging before the COVID-19 crisis began, and advocates in both states made a strong final push to move legislation forward. While both legislatures adjourned without addressing the legislation, conversations in both states indicate strong support for New Voices when the legislatures start fresh in 2021.

Don’t forget to send us the things you’re proud of this month!

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Pro tip: know your pre-file dates 

Many states allow for the pre-filing of legislation, which means that legislators can submit a bill long before the session starts and it will be automatically introduced on the first day of the legislative session. Pre-filing legislation is a great way for your sponsor to show a bill is a priority for them, makes sure that the legislative counsel staff isn’t overwhelmed with drafts in the first weeks of the session, gives you a chance to correct any errors before the bill is formally debated, and may get you a bill number or committee assignment to message around months weeks or months in advance. Some legislatures - including Alabama, Kentucky and Virginia - are already open for pre-file; others start closer to mid-November. Check your legislature’s pre-file status on their state website or by contacting your sponsor - it’s a great excuse for you to check in with them anyway!

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Forward it to anyone you know who is interested in New Voices, and ask them to sign up themselves here.

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