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So what is an Anti-SLAPP law?

April 1, 2011

An Anti-SLAPP law is a law that is designed to reduce SLAPP suits- suits against people who exercise their First Amendment freedoms. The First Amendment is not effective if frivolous lawsuits can be used as a tool to block free speech. In Texas this is a particularly sticky problem because there is not an efficient way to get a suit dismissed early in the process.

According to the Public Participation Project, 26 states and the District of Columbia have Anti-SLAPP laws, with one of the strongest being California, and there is an effort to get a federal Anti-SLAPP law passed. The First Amendment Project has an Anti-SLAPP Resource Center full of great information about SLAPP suits.

This year there are companion bills in the Texas House (HB 2974, 2973, authored by Rep. Hunter) and Senate (SB 1565, authored by Sen. Ellis). The Texas law would provide a mechanism for getting a SLAPP suit dismissed and for getting attorneys fees in some circumstances.

 

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