Public Citizen Opposes Anti-Free Speech Bill in TX House

A pair of bills under consideration in the Texas Legislature would diminish some free speech protections for Texans, and today Public Citizen joined other First Amendment champions to speak out on the legislation.

In essence, Public Citizen’s fears that HB 2730, sponsored by Republican Rep. Jeff Leach of Plano, would seriously undermine critical free speech safeguards for Texans who participate in public discussions about businesses and political issues.

Such speech is currently protected by the Texas Citizens Participation Act – commonly known as TCPA, and also known as the Texas anti-SLAPP law. Adrian Shelley, Public Citizen’s Texas office director, and Public Citizen attorney Paul Levy submitted written testimony to the committee today that elaborates on our position. Shelley also testified in person during today’s hearing.

Michelle L., a Florida woman who raised health alarms about a medical study she had participated in before becoming wary of the program also spoke out on the bill today. Michelle was sued in Houston (where her LLC was located) for raising public concerns about the medical study. Public Citizen’s lawyers took on her case pro bono and prevailed in part by using the TCPA law that Leach and others want to modify.

“The TCPA (law) is ultimately what helped,” Lanham told the House Judiciary Committee. “People are scared to talk and this is very important.”

You can read the official Public Citizen testimony in opposition to HB 2730 here.