TCPA At Risk

TCPA at Risk From SB 896

Since its unanimous passage in 2011, the TCPA has disposed of innumerable meritless lawsuits filed in retaliation for Texans exercising their First Amendment rights to speak freely, to petition, and to associate. The TCPA is often referred to as the Anti-SLAPP statute (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

The TCPA has been used to protect countless individuals, organizations and public officials including: domestic violence victims; online commenters; people who report wrongdoing to police, the media, or the government; candidates for public office; investigative reporting; law enforcement; and more, when meritless lawsuits have been filed against them for exercising their First Amendment rights.

The TCPA has served as a national model for several other states and organizations which have passed similar legislation that’s been signed into law since 2011.

SB 896: A Dangerous Overcorrection

If passed, SB 896 would have the following adverse effect on the protections of Texas citizens’ free speech rights:

    • SB 896 strikes at the core of the free speech protections provided by the TCPA.
    • SB 896  enables trial courts to weaponize the TCPA against speech they don’t like.
    • SB 896 will increase litigation costs by forcing SLAPP victims to fight two (or more) fronts simultaneously.
    • SB 896 will increase media liability insurance premiums and my result in withdrawal from the market.
    • SB 896 will clog the courts with extraneous litigation that will take years to undo.

    Opponents to SB 896/HB 2781

    ACLU of Texas

    Americans for Prosperity-Texas

    Better Business Bureau serving Texas

    Center for Biological Diversity

    Committee to Protect Journalists

    Common Cause

    Competitive Enterprise Institute

    Electronic Frontier Foundation

    First Amendment Coalition

    Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE)

    Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas

    Freedom of the Press Foundation

    Institute for Free Speech

    Institute for Justice

    International Association of Better Business Bureaus

    International Documentary Assn.

    Inter American Press Association

    League of Women Voters

    Media Law Resource Center

    Motion Picture Association, Inc.

    National Coalition Against Censorship

    National Freedom of Information Coalition

    National Newspaper Association

    National Press Club Journalism Institute

    National Press Photographers Association

    National Right to Life

    National Taxpayers Union

    News Media Alliance

    PEN America

    Public Citizen

    Public Participation Project

    Radio Television Digital News Association

    Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press


    Society of Professional Journalists

    Student Press Law Center

    Texas Association of Broadcasters

    Texas Press Association

    The Authors Guild

    The Center for Investigative Reporting, d/b/a Reveal

    The Media Institute

    The National Press Club

    The News Leaders Association

    True Texas Project


    American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., d/b/a ABC News

    Associated Press

    Atlantic Monthly Group LLC

    Axios Media Inc.

    Beaumont Enterprise

    BuzzFeed, Inc. d/b/a HuffPost and BuzzFeed News

    Cable News Network, Inc.

    Cox Media Group

    Dallas Morning News, Inc.

    Dow Jones & Company, Inc., the publisher of The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s

    El Paso Matters

    Forbes Media LLC

    Fox Television Stations, LLC d/b/a KDFW Fox 4 Dallas; KRIV Fox 26 Houston; KTBC Fox 7 Austin

    Gannett Co., Inc., the publisher of USA TODAY, Abilene Reporter-News, Amarillo Globe News, Austin American Statesman, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, El Paso Times, Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, San Angelo Standard-Times, Times Record News, Wichita Falls

    Graham Media Group, Houston, Inc. d/b/a KPRC-TV

    Graham Media Group, San Antonio, Inc. d/b/a KSAT-TV

    Gray Media Group, Inc. d/b/a KBTX, Bryan; KFDA, Amarillo; KLTV/KTRE, Tyler- Lufkin; KOSA, Midland; KSWO, Lawton (Oklahoma) -Wichita Falls; KWTX, Waco; KXII, Sherman

    Hartman Newspapers d/b/a Brenham Banner-Press, Fort Bend Herald, El Campo Leader-News, Wharton Journal-Spectator, East Bernard Express, Alvin Sun-Advertiser, Rockport Pilot, Kaufman Herald

    Hearst Corporation

    Houston Chronicle


    KTRK Television, Inc.

    Laredo Morning Times

    Las Vegas Review Journal

    NBCUniversal Media, LLC

    New York Times Company


    Penguin Random House LLC

    Philadelphia Inquirer

    Pro Publica, Inc.

    Salem Media

    San Antonio Express-News

    Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. d/b/a KTXS, Abilene; KVII, Amarillo; KEYE, Austin; KFDM/KBTV, Beaumont; KSCC, Corpus Christi; KFOX/KDBC, El Paso; WOAI/KABB, San Antonio

    TEGNA Inc.

    Texas Tribune

    The Washington Post

    Editorials/Aricles on SB 896

    Protecting the Democratic Process

    The Texas Supreme Court has described the TCPA as having a “unique role in protecting the democratic process that allows our state to function.” We need to preserve the integrity of this law and make any revisions to it in a thoughtful manner. SB 896 is not that approach but rather simply guts the law.

    The heart and soul of this statute must be preserved. The Texas Legislature shouldn’t allow this effective and equitable law to be eviscerated and the citizens of Texas to be deprived of its free speech protections.

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