PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 25, 2014 – State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia) said today the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a public hearing in April on his anti-SLAPP legislation, Senate Bill 1095.

The hearing will take place at 9:30 a.m. on April 24 at the Philadelphia Bar Association, 1101 Market St., Philadelphia.

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPPs”) are often used against civic organizations, individuals and various groups to deter them from speaking out on a public issue. The lawsuits impose the burden and cost of an ongoing legal defense. Farnese’s legislation would allow those who are wrongfully sued to more easily have their case dismissed or recover attorneys’ fees.

Farnese began working on the legislation last year when the Old City Civic Association disbanded after 40 years of service because the increased threat of SLAPPs made it unfeasible to obtain insurance coverage.

“We need to make sure that people can have a strong voice on what takes place in their neighborhoods without being silenced by the fear of a lawsuit,” Farnese said.

April’s hearing was called by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Stewart Greenleaf (R-Montgomery).

“I want to thank Sen. Greenleaf for giving the public an opportunity to hear about the very serious effects of SLAPPs and what we can do to reverse the chilling effect these type of lawsuits have on our communities,” said Farnese.

Twenty-seven states have adopted anti-SLAPP legislation. In 2000, Pennsylvania passed limited anti-SLAPP legislation that applies only to environmental law and regulatory processes.

Sen. Larry Farnese was first elected to the Senate in 2008 to represent Pennsylvania’s 1st Senatorial District, which contains some of Philadelphia’s most unique and vibrant neighborhoods from Port Richmond on the Delaware River to Fairmount Park on the Schuylkill River and South Philadelphia, Center City, the Navy Yard, Philadelphia International Airport. Sen. Farnese serves as the Democratic Chair of the Communications and Technology Committee. He is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, Banking and Insurance Committee, and the Judiciary Committee. His district office is located at 1802 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA (ph: 215-952-3121) and his Harrisburg office is located at 543 Main Capitol (ph: 717-787-5662). More information about the senator and his initiatives is available at www.senatorfarnese.com.

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