Bill Text: TX SB2162 | 2019-2020 | 86th Legislature | Introduced


Bill Title: Relating to civil actions involving the exercise of certain constitutional rights.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Republican 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-21 - Referred to State Affairs [SB2162 Detail]

Download: Texas-2019-SB2162-Introduced.html
 
 
  By: Paxton S.B. No. 2162
 
 
 
   
 
 
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 
AN ACT
  relating to civil actions involving the exercise of certain
  constitutional rights.
         BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
         SECTION 1.  Sections 27.001(2) and (6), Civil Practice and
  Remedies Code, are amended to read as follows:
               (2) "Exercise of the constitutional right to petition,
  speak freely, or associate freely [of association]" means the
  exercise of the right to petition, speak freely, or associate
  freely as those rights are provided by the constitutions of this
  state and the United States, as applied by the courts of this state
  and the United States [a communication between individuals who join
  together to collectively express, promote, pursue, or defend common
  interests].
               (6) "Legal action" means a lawsuit, cause of action,
  petition, complaint, cross-claim, or counterclaim or any other
  judicial pleading or filing that requests substantive relief,
  regardless of whether the relief is legal or equitable [relief].  
  The term does not include:
                     (A)  a motion or action related to discovery made
  or taken under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, including a
  motion to compel, or objection to, discovery, a motion seeking a
  protective order related to discovery, or the issuance of a
  subpoena;
                     (B)  a motion for summary judgment;
                     (C)  a motion to dismiss a legal action under
  Section 27.003;
                     (D)  a procedure that relates to enforcement of a
  final court order; or
                     (E)  a motion for sanctions or award of attorney's
  fees.
         SECTION 2.  Section 27.002, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
  is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 27.002.  PURPOSE.  The purpose of this chapter is to
  provide a set of procedures to encourage and safeguard the
  constitutional rights of persons to petition, speak freely,
  associate freely, and otherwise participate in government to the
  maximum extent permitted by law and, at the same time, protect the
  rights of a person to file meritorious lawsuits for demonstrable
  injury.
         SECTION 3.  Section 27.003(a), Civil Practice and Remedies
  Code, is amended to read as follows:
         (a)  If a legal action is based on[, relates to,] or is in
  response to a party's exercise of the constitutional right [of free
  speech, right] to petition, speak freely, or associate freely 
  [right of association], that party may file a motion to dismiss the
  legal action.
         SECTION 4.  Section 27.004, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
  is amended by adding Subsections (d) and (e) to read as follows:
         (d)  A hearing on a motion to dismiss filed under this
  chapter must be set not earlier than 21 days after service of the
  motion.
         (e)  Each party must have at least 14 days' notice of a
  hearing on a motion to dismiss filed under this chapter.
         SECTION 5.  Section 27.005, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
  is amended by amending Subsections (a), and (b), and adding
  Subsection (e) to read as follows:
         (a)  Except as provided by Subsection (e), the [The] court
  must rule on a motion under Section 27.003 not later than the 30th
  day following the date of the hearing on the motion.
         (b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), on the motion of a
  party under Section 27.003, a court shall dismiss a legal action
  against the moving party if the moving party shows by a
  preponderance of the evidence that the legal action is based on,
  [relates to,] or is in response to the party's exercise of the
  constitutional right to petition, speak freely, or associate freely  
  [:
               [(1) the right of free speech;
               [(2) the right to petition; or
               [(3) the right of association].
          (e) The court may not rule on a motion to dismiss filed under
  this chapter if the responding party files a nonsuit of the
  challenged legal action on or before the third day before the date
  of the hearing on the motion.
         SECTION 6.  Section 27.008, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
  is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 27.008.  APPEAL.  (a)  If a court does not rule on a
  motion to dismiss under Section 27.003 in the time prescribed by
  Section 27.005(a) [27.005], the motion is considered to have been
  denied by operation of law and the moving party may appeal.
         (b)  An appellate court shall expedite an appeal or other
  writ, whether interlocutory or not, from a trial court order on a
  motion to dismiss a legal action under Section 27.003 or from a
  trial court's failure to rule on that motion in the time prescribed
  by Section 27.005(a) [27.005].
         SECTION 7.  Section 27.009, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
  is amended by adding Subsection (c) to read as follows:
         (c)  The court may not award any costs, fees, expenses, or
  sanctions for a motion to dismiss filed under this chapter if the
  responding party nonsuited the challenged legal action in the time
  prescribed by Section 27.005(e).
         SECTION 8.  Section 27.010, Civil Practice and Remedies Code,
  is amended to read as follows:
         Sec. 27.010.  EXEMPTIONS. [(a)] This chapter does not apply
  to:
               (1) an enforcement action that is brought in the name of
  this state or a political subdivision of this state by the attorney
  general, a district attorney, a criminal district attorney, or a
  county attorney;
               (2) [(b) This chapter does not apply to] a legal action
  brought against a person primarily engaged in the business of
  selling or leasing goods or services, if the statement or conduct
  arises out of the sale or lease of goods, services, or an insurance
  product, insurance services, or a commercial transaction in which
  the intended audience is an actual or potential buyer or customer;
               (3)[.
         [(c)  This chapter does not apply to] a legal action seeking
  recovery for bodily injury, wrongful death, or survival or to
  statements made regarding that legal action;
               (4)[.
         [(d)  This chapter does not apply to] a legal action brought
  under the Insurance Code or arising out of an insurance contract;
               (5)  a compulsory counterclaim under the Texas Rules of
  Civil Procedure;
               (6)  a legal action filed under Title 1, 2, 4, or 5,
  Family Code, or an application for a protective order made under
  Chapter 7A, Code of Criminal Procedure; or
               (7)  a legal action to enforce:
                     (A)  a noncompete agreement;
                     (B)  a nondisclosure agreement; or
                     (C)  a non-disparagement agreement.
         SECTION 9.  Sections 27.001(1), (3), (4), (5), (7), (8), and
  (9), Civil Practice and Remedies Code, are repealed.
         SECTION 10.  Chapter 27, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, as
  amended by this Act, applies only to an action filed on or after the
  effective date of this Act.  An action filed before the effective
  date of this Act is governed by the law in effect immediately before
  that date, and that law is continued in effect for that purpose.
         SECTION 11.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2019.
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