2023 Bills

SB 18: Limiting Lawsuits Against Lawful Speech

This bill passed both chambers of the legislature unanimously. Review our tracker for more information.

Libertas Institute supports this bill

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

This bill addresses the serious issue of SLAPP suits, (strategic lawsuits against public participation). These suits are often brought by parties with flimsy cases who aim to wear down their opponent’s resources rather than actually win. 

This kind of suit was levied against Ben Abbott, Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Ecology at BYU after speaking out against Lake Restoration Solutions’ Utah Lake island-building proposal. The proposal was ultimately rejected by the Utah Department of Natural Resources, and LRS blamed the statements of Professor Abbott in the lawsuit, alleging defamation. This lawsuit lasted almost a full year before a district judge threw out the suit.

Although the final result went in favor of the professor, it took a year to clear him of the burden of the lawsuit. The attorneys fees Prof. Abbott paid this last year just to prove what some believed to be an open and shut case illustrate the need for anti-SLAPP legislation like that proposed by Sen. Bramble.