Bipartisan Anti-SLAPP Legislation Introduced in Texas Legislature, Receives Support of Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle
Anti-SLAPP legislation was recently introduced in the Texas Legislature with bipartisan support. The Senate bill (SB 1565) is sponsored by Senators Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Kevin Eltife (R- Tyler). Representative Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), Chairman of the Committee on Calendars, introduced the legislation (HB 2973) in the House. This important legislation protects Texans’ First Amendment rights to petition the government and speak on matters of public concern by permitting the target of a SLAPP to file a motion to dismiss the suit that suspends discovery until the Court rules on the motion. In addition, the Court may award fees and costs to a SLAPP victim upon the granting of the motion.
The Dallas Morning News and Houston Chronicle recently editorialized in support of the bill. As the editorials detail, Texans have recently been the targets of SLAPPs for statements made during a city council meeting and for exposing corruption on the board of a nonprofit organization. In addition, the Palestine Herald Press was SLAPPed after publishing a newspaper article depicting the actions of a high school football coach. The Public Participation Project joins the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle in urging the Texas Legislature to pass this important legislation. The editorials can be found here and here.