PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 29, 2013) – State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) today released his letter to the Republican chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee requesting a hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 1095. The bill, which was authored by Farnese, protects organizations from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) and deters people from filing the damaging lawsuits.

“Our civic groups and the organizations who are out there trying to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods deserve to tell their story and to make sure my fellow legislators understand the difficulty they have in preventing and dealing with SLAPPs,” said Farnese.

Despite the fact that very few bills get a hearing, Sen. Farnese felt that it was important to petition Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R-12), who is the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to hold a hearing so more stakeholders and organizations can formally weigh in on the legislation.

SLAPPs are often used against civic organizations, individuals and various groups to deter them from speaking out on an issue by imposing 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 attorney fees.

Farnese began working on the legislation after the Old City Civic Association (OCCA) disbanded after 40 years of service because the increased threat of SLAPPs made it difficult to obtain insurance. 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. Farnese’s bill makes changes to Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Code, and his letter requesting a hearing is here.

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Senator Larry Farnese was first elected to the Senate in 2008 to represent Pennsylvania’s First 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. Senator 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 Street in Philadelphia, PA (ph: 215-952-3121) and his Harrisburg Office is located at 543 Main Capitol in Harrisburg, PA (ph: 717-787-5662). More information about the Senator and his initiatives is available at www.senatorfarnese.com.

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