SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2699





                        57th Legislature

                      2002 Regular Session


Passed by the House March 11, 2002

  Yeas 94   Nays 0




Speaker of the House of Representatives







Passed by the Senate March 5, 2002

  Yeas 47   Nays 0



I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2699  as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                          Chief Clerk






President of the Senate




Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.                




Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                    SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 2699



                     AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE


             Passed Legislature - 2002 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2002 Regular Session


By House Committee on Judiciary (originally sponsored by Representatives Lantz, Ahern, Benson, Crouse, Morell, Miloscia, Schindler, Dunshee and Esser)


Read first time 02/07/2002.  Referred to Committee on .

Providing immunity for communications with government agencies and self-regulatory organizations.  

    AN ACT Relating to communications with government branches or agencies and self-regulatory organizations; amending RCW 4.24.510; and creating a new section.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  Strategic lawsuits against public participation, or SLAPP suits, involve communications made to influence a government action or outcome which results in a civil complaint or counterclaim filed against individuals or organizations on a substantive issue of some public interest or social significance.  SLAPP suits are designed to intimidate the exercise of First Amendment rights and rights under Article I, section 5 of the Washington state Constitution.

    Although Washington state adopted the first modern anti-SLAPP law in 1989, that law has, in practice, failed to set forth clear rules for early dismissal review.  Since that time, the United States supreme court has made it clear that, as long as the petitioning is aimed at procuring favorable government action, result, product, or outcome, it is protected and the case should be dismissed.  This bill amends Washington law to bring it in line with these court decisions which recognizes that the United States Constitution protects advocacy to government, regardless of content or motive, so long as it is designed to have some effect on government decision making.


    Sec. 2.  RCW 4.24.510 and 1999 c 54 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    A person who ((in good faith)) communicates a complaint or information to any branch or agency of federal, state, or local government, or to any self-regulatory organization that regulates persons involved in the securities or futures business and that has been delegated authority by a federal, state, or local government agency and is subject to oversight by the delegating agency, is immune from civil liability for claims based upon the communication to the agency or organization regarding any matter reasonably of concern to that agency or organization.  A person prevailing upon the defense provided for in this section ((shall be)) is entitled to recover ((costs)) expenses and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred in establishing the defense and in addition shall receive statutory damages of ten thousand dollars.  Statutory damages may be denied if the court finds that the complaint or information was communicated in bad faith.


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