Some Good News: Kentucky Passes A Good Anti-SLAPP Law

from the another-one-down dept

Hey, finally time for a little bit of good news in the world of free speech: the Kentucky General Assembly recently passed the Kentucky Uniform Public Expression Protection Act. It’s a kind of anti-SLAPP bill that is based on a model bill, the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act (UPEPA), and similar to a bill passed in Washington State already, and very similar to bills proposed in a few other states as well. On Wednesday, Kentucky’s governor, Andy Beshear, signed the bill into law.

That adds one more state to the growing list of states that now have significant anti-SLAPP protections in place to help stop frivolous lawsuits designed to intimidate and silence people in response to their expression.

One of the drafters of the UPEPA, Jay Adkisson, has said that the modifications in the Kentucky version are a mixed bag, but mostly good. For instance, it clarifies that consumer opinions and reviews can be protected under this law (even though it seems that those should obviously be covered by the standard UPEPA).

On the whole, this is a very good thing, and decreases, by one, the number of states that didn’t really have an anti-SLAPP law and increases, by one, states that have a significant anti-SLAPP law. There are still way too many states that don’t have any anti-SLAPP law (waves to Iowa) or have very, very weak ones (nods towards Virginia and Massachusetts). And, of course, since multiple federal circuits have ruled out state anti-SLAPP laws in federal courts, we still also need a strong federal anti-SLAPP law as well.

But, still, progress!

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Comments on “Some Good News: Kentucky Passes A Good Anti-SLAPP Law”

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Nah says:

Anti-SLAPP and 'tort reform'

I imagine it’s difficult to craft an anti-SLAPP law in such a way that it can’t be exploited by those it’s meant to stop. Every provision in the bill must be scrutinized to account for second order+ results.

Has anyone been wise enough to categorize anti-SLAPP laws as ‘tort reform’? Personally I’m ambivalent to tort reform in general , but if I were a tort reform advocate I’d be pointing toward successful anti-SLAPP laws and call it a victory for my movement.

My take is that even a badly-executed anti-SLAPP law has one positive effect: it discourages lawsuits and therefore leads to fewer lawyers in the world.

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