New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 19, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Thursday, May 19, 2011 — Herald-Zeitung — Page 5
Senate passes Texas Citizen Participation Act Wednesday
HB 2973 protects Texans from suits designed to stiffle free speech
Al JSTIN—The Texas Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to approve HB 2973, the I exas ( Jtizen Participation Act, legislation by Hep. Todd 1 lunter (R-Corpus Christi) and Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Hous-ton) that protects Texans’ right to petition the government or speak out about matters of public concern.
The House approved the legislation 142-0.
1 IB 2973 protects Texans’ right to free speech and curtails frivolous abuse of our court system by reducing strategic lawsuits against public participation (SI APP). The legislation creates a way for people who have been subjected to SLAPP lawsuits to protect themselves from having to give in to a plaintiff who
has greater resources or other power rather than spend thousands of dollars defending themselves.
"These SIAPP suits are the bully’s weapon against democracy,’’Ellis said. "Across Texas and the nation, the powerful are using our courts — and the threat of high legal costs and bankruptcy — to silence critics and shield wrong-doers from scrutiny. HB 2973 evens the playing field and ensures the little guy won’t be put in the poor house for standing up for what he believes in.”
SLAPP lawsuits often are used by moneyed interests to retaliate against and silence critics through costly litigation. With the rise of blogs, citizen journalism and
Animal shelter fundraiser Saturday
By Megan Holt
Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society will open its doors to the public Saturday for their 11th annual "Bark-B-Q” fundraising event.
Beginning at 11 a.m., the shelter will serve $10 plates featuring iced tea, sweet smoke and low-and-slow barbecue brisket, sausage and chicken to community members. Each guest will receive three meats, two sides, a dessert and drink.
The event is the shelter’s
When: 11 a.m. Saturday
Where: Canyon Like Animal Shelter,
2170 Old Sattler Road
Cost $10 per plate and raffle ticket
Contact (830) 899-2527
“Usually, this event brings in enough money to run the shelter by itself for one month, which is around $10,000,” said Carlton Barney, shelter manager.
Raffle tickets for 27 items will be sold at $10 per ticket. Special ticket offers are available to those purchasing two
or five tickets.
Attendees can visit and play with the animals up for adoption; the shelter currently houses 42 dogs and 87 cats, Barney said.
Vendors selling various items will be present to fulfill shopping needs, as well as live music for those looking for entertainment.
The shelter has been helping animals find homes since 1998, Barney said.
For information or to adopt a pet, contact Canyon Lake Animal Shelter Society at (830) 899-2527.
rrom the wire
SCHWARZENEGGER CHILD REPORT SPURS MEDIA FRENZY
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The revelation that Arnold Schwarzenegger has an out-of-wedlock child with a former employee turned into a tabloid frenzy Wednesday, as scores of reporters and photographers swarmed a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in the middle of California farm country amid unconfirmed reports it was the home of the child’s mother.
The woman was not at the Bakersfield home when the flash mob arrived, its satellite TV trucks filling her quiet Bakersfield street and spilling onto another one.
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From The Associated Press
CIRCUMCISION BAN TO APPEAR ON SAN FRAN BALLOT
SAN FRANCISCO — A proposal to ban the circumcision of male children in San Francisco has been cleared to appear on the November ballot, setting the stage for the nation’s first public vote on what has long been considered a private family matter.
But even in a city with a long-held reputation for pushing boundaries, the measure is drawing heavy fire. Opponents are lining up against it, saying a ban on a religious rite is a blatant violation of constitutional rights.
STRAUSS-KAHN'S IMF FUTURE HINGES ON BAIL HEARING
WASHINGTON — Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s bail hearing Thursday could spell the end of his leadership of the International Monetary Fund.
If a New York judge denies bail for Strauss-Kahn or imposes highly restrictive conditions on his freedom, the IMF’s executive board would expect him to resign, two senior IMF officials said Wednesday. If he didn’t, the board could remove him on the grounds that he couldn’t lead the IMF from a jail cell or far from its Washington headquarters.
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Citizens have say on MPO road plan
increased public participation, more and more ordinary citizens are being targeted. SIAPP suits have been filed against citizens and organizations for simply circulating petitions, testifying at public hearings, attending rallies or demonstrations or even writing letters to the editor.
HB 2973 allow defendants in SLAPP suits to dismiss cases earlier than would otherwise be possible, thus limiting the cost and fees. Under the legislation, judges would have the power to dismiss these cases much earlier in the process and compel those behind such suits to pay legai fees and court costs.
TWenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have passed "Anti-SLAPP” laws.
By Greg Bowen
A crowd estimated at 90 showed up Wednesday for the first public-input meeting in New Braunfels on a transportation plan being developed as part of the effort to create a new metropolitan planning organization in the New Braunfels/Seguin area.
Citizens had plenty to say about what they think the new plan for roads, mass transit and hike-and-bike trails should include.
One asked that Farm-to-Market 306 be improved from New Braunfels to Canyon I ¿ike. Another wanted FM 306 extended to New Braunfels Municipal Airport.
One man suggested com
muter rail be added to keep pollution from car engines to a minimum. Another said the proposed commuter rail stop shouldn’t be in downtown New Braunfels, but someplace more accessible and with better parking.
Others spoke out against including toll roads and building the proposed New Braunfels outer loop without first doing a study into its environmental impact.
One asked that the new road plan take into consideration the impacts future road construction would have on flooding in flcKxl-prone New Braunfels and Comal County.
Another said consideration should be given to protecting wildlife and forests when building roads.
One said the scarcity of water supplies for the growing area should he taken care of before building any new roads.
There were several questions concerning who citizens can contact about the projects that will be included in the plan and where to find information about public comments made and coming meetings.
New Braunfels Planning Director Shannon Mattingly said a new page on the transportation planning and M1M) effort was put up on the city’s website — www.nhtexas.org —just Wednesday.
Additional public meetings will be held through August as the transportation plan is developed and finalized.
End of the world as we know it? Let’s party
(AP) — For some, it’s Judgment Day. For others, it’s party time. A loosely organized Christian movement has spread the word around the globe that Jesus Christ will return to earth on Saturday to gather the faithful into heaven. While the Christian mainstream isn’t buying it, many other skeptics are milking it.
A Facebook page titled “Post rapture looting” offers this invitation: “When everyone is gone and god’s not looking, we need to pick up some
MAY 21 • 7:30pm
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sweet stereo equipment and maybe some new furniture for the mansion we’re going to squat in.’’ By Wednesday afternoon, more than 175,(KM) people indicated they would be “attending” the “public event.”
The prediction is also being mocked in the comic strip “Doonesbury” and has inspired “Rapture parties” to celebrate what hosts expect will be the failure of the world to come to an end.
The prediction originates
with Harold Camping, an 89-year-old retired civil engineer from Oakland, Calif., who founded Family Radio Worldwide.
The Rapture is the belief that Christ will bring the faithful into paradise prior to a period of tribulation on earth that precedes the end of time.
Camping’s prophecy' comes from numerological calculations based on his reading of the Bible, and he says global events like the 1948 founding of Israel confirm his math.
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