ASNE Joins the Protect Free Speech Coalition in Support of First Amendment Rights in Texas

Free speech is under assault in Texas. Eight years after its enactment, the Texas Citizen Participation Act (the state's version of an Anti-SLAPP statute) is in danger of being neutered. While nothing has been introduced, we understand that Texas House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee Chair Jeff Leach is planning a “reform measure” that may, among other things: 
  • Limit the breadth of the statute by limiting its application to defendants who spoke in a governmental setting (which would likely exclude any statements published by news media) or to speech in a public setting about a public issue (which would leave news media at the mercy of a court's interpretation)
  • Remove the important stay on discovery during the pendency of a motion to dismiss filed under this law (which is expressly designed to move the financial sting of being subjected to a frivolous lawsuit)
  • Modifying the also-important right of interlocutory appeal that can help resolve cases prior to discovery or trial
  • Imposing a “loser pay” requirement in Anti-Slapp cases (which could deter defendants from invoking the law)
  • Removing mandatory sanctions against a plaintiff who files a frivolous lawsuit that is dismissed pursuant to this law
That's why ASNE has joined several other Texas-based and national journalism companies and organizations in the “Protect Free Speech Coalition.” As one of our first actions as a member of this Coalition, we are asking our members – especially our members in Texas – to make their voices heard before legislation is introduced. You can do this by: As always, you can contact ASNE Legal Counsel Kevin M. Goldberg at 703-812-0462 or if you have any questions.