(b) environmental, economic, or community well-being;
(c) the government;
(d) a public official or public figure; or
(e) a good, product, or service in the marketplace.Id. § 27.001(3), (7)(A)-(E).
The TCPA does not require that the statements specifically “mention” health, safety, or community concerns, nor does it require more than a “tangential relationship” to the same; rather, “TCPA applicability requires only that the Defendant’s statements are ‘in connection with’ ‘issue[s] related to’ health, safety, environmental, economic, and other identified matters of public concern chosen by the Legislature.”Exxonmobil Pipeline Co. v. Coleman, 512 S.W.3d 895, 900 (Tex. 2017), citing Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 27.001(3), (7). The statute itself specifically instructs that the chapter “shall be liberally construed to effectuate its purpose and intent fully.”Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 27.011. As the Texas Supreme Court recently ruled, “We must construe the TCPA liberally to effectuate its purpose and intent fully. Construing the TCPA liberally means construing its exemptions narrowly.”State ex rel. Best v. Harper, No. 16-0647, 2018 WL 3207125 at *6 (Tex. June 29, 2018).
Several factors continue to make the TCPA a particularly powerful example of anti-SLAPP legislation, such as:
Put simply, the TCPA is a powerful example of an anti-SLAPP statute. Yet, proposed legislation before the 86th Legislature stand to drastically undermine the TCPA.
The 2019 session of the Texas legislature is currently considering sweeping changes of the TCPA which will severely weaken the anti-SLAPP laws. These changes include Texas House Bill 2730 and Texas Senate Bill 2162. A review of the proposed legislation, which is still being hammered out and discussed on the legislative floor, highlights significant changes:
HB 2730 has flared the House and is now being heard before the Texas Senate. It must beat upcoming deadlines to advance through a Senate committee hearing, pass committee, and reach the Senate for passage. If senators change the bill, the House may have to reconsider it. And, of course, Governor Greg Abbott would have to approve the bill before it comes law. Nevertheless, it appears the bill will pass and the TCPA will be effectively changed.