Colorado lawmakers approve First Amendment bill to protect against frivolous lawsuits

Posted at 11:46 AM, May 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-03 13:46:31-04

DENVER (AP) — Colorado's Senate has passed a bill to protect citizens and news organizations from frivolous lawsuits intended to stifle First Amendment rights to free speech.

The bill creates an expedited process for a defendant to obtain a stay of such a lawsuit by arguing it's motivated by his or her exercise of free speech or for exercising their right to petition government.

A higher court can dismiss such a case. The bill also allows defendants to collect court costs and attorney's fees.

Nearly 30 U.S. states have similar laws curbing what are known as strategic lawsuits against public participation.

Democratic Reps. Lisa Cutter and Shannon Bird and Sen. Mike Foote sponsored the Colorado bill.

Friday is the last day of the 2019 legislative session.