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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Filed Under: 1st amendment, anti-slapp, devin nunes, free speech, schuyler vanvalkenburg, virginia


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 5:32pm

    This sucks

    I love Virginia, but it really sucks that they couldn't pull this off. I was hoping they would pass something to prevent libel tourism, but apparently it's like the Cubs losing: "Maybe Next Year..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Mar 2020 @ 7:44pm

    Somewhere, Devin Nunes is laughing like a stereotypical cartoon supervillain.

    He hasn’t heard this news yet, that’s just what he does when he masturbates to orgasm while thinking about cows¹.


    ¹ — Probably.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 12:13am

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 4:52am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 12:49pm

        Re: Re: Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans

        Can think of a few other states at a minimum that follow this, keeps them from being able to cause as much trouble as they might be able to if it was full time.

        Legislative jobs should be about service to the public, not a permanent employment opportunity.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re: Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans

        Do failed attempts count against that number then? Because if so, that's insane, and if not it would seem to be really easy, just fix the problems and pass it, as you'd still be at one bill in the field.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2020 @ 5:40am

      Re: Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans

      Virginia’s legislative session lasts 60 days in even numbered years. It can be extended, but only by a 2/3 majority vote. It may sound insane, but that’s what Virginia’s constitution says. And don’t ask how long the session is in odd-numbered years...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Jerry, 11 Mar 2020 @ 8:16am

      Re: Yeah, I'm calling shenanigans

      The Virginia legislature is part time. They are only in session either 45 or 60 days a year starting in January.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 14 Mar 2020 @ 6:27am

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 11 Mar 2020 @ 12:10pm

    So..

    1 class of 2 year olds, NOW debating with a 2nd class on what to eat for Launch??

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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