Bad News: Virginia Legislature Can't Sort Out Anti-SLAPP Law; Expect More SLAPP Suits

from the congrats-devin-nunes dept

Last month we were happy to report that both houses of the Virginia legislature had passed anti-SLAPP laws (partially in response to Rep. Devin Nunes’ use of the state for a bunch of SLAPPy libel-tourism lawsuits. As we noted at the time, the two versions that passed through each part of the legislature were somewhat different, so they needed to be reconciled.

Unfortunately, it appears they were unable to reconcile to the two bills. In response to a tweeted question from reporter Rob Pegoaro, Schuyler VanValkenburg, who had introduced the House version of the bill, admitted that they couldn’t reconcile the two, and it would need to wait until next year:

This is disappointing on many levels — especially as we keep seeing so many of these cases being filed in Virginia. Having a good anti-SLAPP bill these days is important, and plenty of damage can be done in the meantime, even if a good bill will be coming next year. This is an unfortunate opportunity lost.

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Comments on “Bad News: Virginia Legislature Can't Sort Out Anti-SLAPP Law; Expect More SLAPP Suits”

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10 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans

It did not. We made a lot of progress at bridging the bill b/t House and Senate and I’m confident about getting something next year.

It is march, the third month out of twelve, the idea that it will take until the next year before they can try again is something I’m having just a wee bit of trouble believing unless they have absolutely insane rules that prevent similar bills in the same year, they work only a few days in the entire year or they only threw the current bills up for a PR stunt and they didn’t actually care in the first place.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

Re: Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans

I follow two Virginia Delegates on twitter (to wit, Lee Carter, the only elected socialist in the south, and Danica Roem, one of the first openly trans people to be elected in the wave of 2017), and I learned that the rules about the Virginia legislature are such that they could only pass a limited number of bills relative to a field per year (please correct me if I’m wrong). They can’t pass as much as they can wiily-nilly.

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans

is march, the third month out of twelve, the idea that it will take until the next year before they can try again

This is a Good Thing. Our legislature meets for two months out of the year, and often that seems like about two too many. It appears that Virginia’s legislature likewise meets for a limited time each year.

Remember, "No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session," [credited to one Judge Tucker]. And, sorry, no real quotes, this markup stuff mungs them badly.

I would return to the system where they meet only every other year. That would provide less opportunity for mischief. Pass a two-year budget (that being their sole constitutional responsibility), go home.

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