A comprehensive new law review article just published in the St. Mary’s Law Journal covers the Legislature’s substantial changes to the Texas Citizen Participation Act, or TCPA.

Authored by participants representing major stakeholders during the negotiations on House Bill 2730, the article details the history, problems, and revisions of the TCPA, which was having a greater impact on civil litigation, and had been more litigated, than any law enacted in recent decades. (The TCPA comprises Chapter 27 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.)

Despite its stated purpose of protecting First Amendment rights, as written, the original TCPA’s seemingly limitless application confounded judges and litigants alike, causing the 86th Legislature in 2019 to pass sweeping changes to that law. The article’s extensive treatment of changes to key definitions, such as “right of association,” “legal action,” and “matter of public concern,” demonstrates how the new law reined in the TCPA, with the notable exception of its application to media defendants, and its far-reaching implications for advocates and their clients. The article also addresses new exemptions added by the legislation, exemptions retained from the old law, and new procedures for resolving cases under the statute.

The authors argue that the Legislature’s extensive amendments bring the TCPA more into line with established First Amendment jurisprudence, as well as traditional procedures for pre-trial case resolution, and provides suggestions for practitioners to access what for many may be unfamiliar areas of the law.

Access the article free of charge here.

Amy Bresnen has a J.D. from St. Mary’s University School of Law and an M.P.A. from Texas State University. She served as staff to key legislators and serves on the State Bar of Texas Committee on Disciplinary Rules and Referenda. For more information, email her at amy.bresnen@gmail.com.

Lisa Kaufman has a J.D. from the George Washington University Law School. She served as budget and policy director and special counsel to former Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus and counsel to key committees in the Texas Legislature and both houses of the U.S. Congress. Kaufman, the bill’s principal drafter, is a founding partner of Austin’s Davis Kaufman and represented the Texas Civil Justice League.

Steve Bresnen holds a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law and formerly served as general counsel and policy director to former Lt. Gov. Bob Bullock. The Bresnens are attorneys and lobbyists with BresnenAssociates, Inc., and represented the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, AT&T, and the Texas Family Law Foundation during negotiations on H.B. 2730.