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
- Contacting Rep. Leach's office to express your opposition. You can do this by phone ((512) 463-0544) or via this web-based Email form.
- Contacting other Members of the Texas House of Representatives Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee.