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TAB Opposes SB 896 for Weakening Free Speech Protections

- SB 896 Puts Texans at Risk of Lawsuit Intimidation

TAB is opposing SB 896 which would weaken Texans’ free speech protections under the Texas Citizen Participation Act. Commonly known as the Anti-SLAPP law, the TCPA ensures Texans can comment honestly on matters of public concern without fear of costly lawsuits by wealthy and powerful individuals or corporations that don’t want to be criticized or reported upon.

SB 896 by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, has gained traction because proponents claim the bill is intended to combat frivolous lawsuits.  While some attorneys have abused the law with frivolous motions, the problem is not as pervasive as proponents claim and can be addressed in ways that don’t undermine the law’s free speech protections.

Free speech advocates have proposed such amendments, but Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, who’s carrying the companion bill, HB 2781, in the House has refused to entertain them, despite claiming publicly that he would not advance a measure that weakened Texans’ free speech protections.

Indeed, Leach voted a revised version of SB 896 out of the House committee he chairs last week without weighing in on the proposed amendments, advancing special interest legislation at the expense of everyday Texans who could risk financial ruin for exercising their First Amendment rights.

SB 896 is opposed by a broad range of businesses, interest groups and free speech advocates, from the ACLU on the left to Americans for Prosperity and National Right to Life on the right.

TAB is urging members to engage with their Representatives in the Texas House to vote no on SB 896 when it comes up for a floor vote in the House which could occur soon.

Questions? Contact TAB’s Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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