Monday, October 28, 2019

House Judiciary Committee Holds Dec. 16 Hearing On Bipartisan Anti-SLAPP-- Citizen Intimidation-- Lawsuit Legislation

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing December 16 on Senate Bill 95 (Farnese-D-Philadelphia) and House Bill 95 (Diamond-R-Lebanon), bipartisan legislation to prevent the use of the legal system to intimidate citizens and community groups.
SLAPP suits, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, are designed to impede community groups and community members by burdening them with legal fees and intimidating outspoken community members with legal action.
Both House Bill 95 and Senate Bill 95 protect people engaged in constitutionally protected speech from civil action based on that speech, allows for swift consideration and dismissal of cases deemed to be filed with the intent of silencing protected speech, prevents discovery during the pendency of the dismissal claim, and allows victims of a SLAPP suit to recover any legal costs and fees.
Since 2000, when the Pennsylvania Environmental Immunity Act or anti-SLAPP law was passed, any person that “files an action in the courts of this Commonwealth to enforce an environmental law or regulation or that makes an oral or written communication to a government agency relating to enforcement or implementation of an environmental law or regulation shall be immune from civil liability in any resulting legal proceeding for damages where the action or communication is aimed at procuring favorable governmental action.”
Sen. Farnese’s original legislation was passed by the Senate by a vote of 42 to 8 in April of 2017, but died in the House without action.  There has been no action on the new Senate Bill 95 introduced in February.
The hearing will be held in Room 205 Ryan Office Building starting at 9:30.  Click Here to watch the hearing live.
Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) serves as Majority Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and can be contacted by calling 717-705-2004 or send email to:  Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery) serves as Minority Chair and can be contacted by calling 717-705-7011 or send email to:
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[Posted: October 28, 2019]

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