AUSTIN – The Texas House’s passage of a bill which seeks to reign in the Texas Citizens Participation Act has earned praise from Texans for Lawsuit Reform.
HB 2730 passed on April 30 with a vote of 143-1. Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, the bill is seen by supporters as an answer to alleged misapplication and misinterpretation of the TCPA.
Lucy M. Nashed, communications director at TLR, told The Record that the TCPA, an anti-SLAPP, law, “has been used in ways the Legislature never intended.” According to Nashed, an example of TCPA abuse is concealing actions such as extortion and theft of trade secrets.
“Practicing attorneys and judges alike agree there are substantial flaws with this law that need to be fixed,” she said. “House Bill 2730 is the product of feedback from key stakeholders—including the media organizations, attorneys and judges who work with this law every day.”
Leach said in a statement issued on May 3 that HB 2730 will adopt the nation’s strongest protections for free speech while implementing landmark reforms under the TCPA, which was adopted by the Texas Legislature in 2011.
“The final version of House Bill 2730 is the result of a collaborative team effort, with a multitude of stakeholders working together over the past several months to perfect the legislation and ensure the strongest free-speech protections in the nation,” stated Leach.
“(House Bill 2730) helps ensure that Texans can exercise their constitutional rights of speech and association, while making adjustments to prevent the statute’s overly-broad application,” she said.
Critics of HB 2730 fear the legislation seriously damaged the TCPA and infringed upon the First Amendment.
If enacted, the bill will prevent anti-SLAPP motions from being used against procedural motions and ensure that communications about topics of public interest are protected.
The Texas Senate has the bill for consideration.