Protect the Protest Pushes for Anti-SLAPP Legislation to Stop Lawsuits
Designed to Silence Free Speech
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RICHMOND, VA – Committees in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate have passed legislation to stop lawsuits designed to silence free speech. The committees’ approvals set up a floor vote on Tuesday in both bodies to finally end Virginia’s dubious distinction as a national destination for SLAPP lawsuit tourism.
Today Virginia’s Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed legislation to stop SLAPP lawsuits. On Friday the House Courts of Justice Committee passed similar legislation to strengthen Virginia’s anti-SLAPP restrictions by a bipartisan 9-4 vote. The full House and Senate will each vote on their committee’s bills tomorrow.
Executive Director of the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and secretariat of the Protect the Protest task force Alison Friedman called the progress on the Virginia bills a big victory for individuals and public interest organizations that face these lawsuits, which are designed to intimidate and financially wreck their targets.
“Virginia is moving closer to finally passing strong and effective SLAPP legislation,” Friedman said. “Soon wealthy corporations and individuals like California congressman Devin Nunes will no longer be able to come to Virginia to sue their opponents into submission.”
ICAR serves as Secretariat of the Protect the Protest Task Force—a national coalition of social justice, civil rights, and environmental organizations—that works to combat and end the threat of SLAPPs in the United States.