The scheme is similar to the one involved in a claim of governmental immunity.
The important parts of the Bill's language are below:
SEC. 3. IMMUNITY FOR PETITION ACTIVITY.
(a) Immunity- Any act of petitioning the government made without knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of falsity shall be immune from civil liability.
(b) Burden and Standard of Proof- A plaintiff must prove knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of falsity by clear and convincing evidence.
SEC. 4. PROTECTION FOR PETITION AND SPEECH ACTIVITY.
Any act in furtherance of the constitutional right of petition or free speech shall be entitled to the procedural protections provided in this Act.
SEC. 5. SPECIAL MOTION TO DISMISS.
(a) In General- A party may file a special motion to dismiss any claim arising from an act or alleged act in furtherance of the constitutional right of petition or free speech within 45 days after service of the claim if the claim was filed in Federal court or, if the claim was removed to Federal court pursuant to section 6 of this Act, within 15 days after removal.
(b) Burdens of the Parties- A party filing a special motion to dismiss under this Act has the initial burden of making a prima facie showing that the claim at issue arises from an act in furtherance of the constitutional right of petition or free speech. If the moving party meets this burden, the burden shifts to the responding party to demonstrate that the claim is both legally sufficient and supported by a sufficient prima facie showing of facts to sustain a favorable judgment.
(c) Stay of Discovery- Upon the filing of a special motion to dismiss, discovery proceedings in the action shall be stayed until notice of entry of an order disposing of the motion, except that the court, on noticed motion and for good cause shown, may order that specified discovery be conducted.
(d) Expedited Hearing- The court shall hold an expedited hearing on the special motion to dismiss, and issue a ruling as soon as practicable after the hearing. The parties may submit the pleadings and affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based. The court shall explain the reasons for its grant or denial of the motion in a statement for the record. If the special motion to dismiss is granted, dismissal shall be with prejudice.
(e) Immediate Appeal- The defendant shall have a right of immediate appeal from a district court order denying a special motion to dismiss in whole or in part.
SEC. 6. FEDERAL REMOVAL JURISDICTION.
(a) In General- A civil action commenced in a State court against any person who asserts as a defense the immunity provided for in section 3 of this Act, or asserts that the action arises from an act in furtherance of the constitutional right of petition or free speech, may be removed by the defendant to the district court of the United States for the district and division embracing the place wherein it is pending.
(b) Remand of Remaining Claims- A court exercising jurisdiction under this section shall remand any claims against which the special motion to dismiss has been denied, as well as any remaining claims against which a special motion to dismiss was not brought, to the State court from which it was removed.
(c) Timing- A court exercising jurisdiction under this section shall remand an action if a special motion to dismiss is not filed within 15 days after removal.
SEC. 7. SPECIAL MOTION TO QUASH.
(a) In General- A person whose personally identifying information is sought in connection with an action pending in Federal court arising from an act in furtherance of the constitutional right of petition or free speech may make a special motion to quash the discovery order, request or subpoena.
(b) Burdens of the Parties- The person bringing a special motion to quash under this section must make a prima facie showing that the underlying claim arises from an act in furtherance of the constitutional right of petition or free speech. If this burden is met, the burden shifts to the plaintiff in the underlying action to demonstrate that the underlying claim is both legally sufficient and supported by a sufficient prima facie showing of facts to sustain a favorable judgment. This standard shall apply only to a special motion to quash brought under this section.
SEC. 8. FEES AND COSTS.
(a) Attorney’s Fees- The court shall award a moving party who prevails on a special motion to dismiss or quash the costs of litigation, including a reasonable attorney’s fee.
(b) Frivolous Motions and Removal- If the court finds that a special motion to dismiss, special motion to quash, or the removal of a claim under this Act is frivolous or is solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, the court may award a reasonable attorney’s fees and costs to the responding party.
(c) Government Entities- A government entity may not recover fees pursuant to this section.
SEC. 9. BANKRUPTCY NONDISCHARGABILITY OF FEES AND COSTS.
Fees or costs awarded against a party by a court for the prosecution of any claim finally dismissed pursuant to this Act, or any subpoena or discovery order quashed pursuant to this Act, or any claim finally dismissed pursuant to a State anti-SLAPP law, shall not be dischargeable in bankruptcy under section 1328 or section 523 of title 11, United States Code.
SEC. 10. EXEMPTIONS.
(a) Public Enforcement- Sections 4 through 8 of this Act shall not be available in any action brought solely on behalf of the public or solely to enforce an important right affecting the public interest.
(b) Commercial Speech- This Act shall not apply to any claim for relief brought against a person primarily engaged in the business of selling or leasing goods or services, if the statement or conduct from which the claim arises is a representation of fact made for the purpose of promoting, securing or completing sales or leases of, or commercial transactions in, the person’s goods or services, and the intended audience is an actual or potential buyer or customer.
(c) ‘SLAPP-back’ Suits- This Act shall not be available to dismiss any action or claim arising from a claim that has been dismissed pursuant to this Act or to a State anti-SLAPP law.
SEC. 11. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) ACT IN FURTHERANCE OF THE RIGHT OF FREE SPEECH- The term ‘act in furtherance of the right of free speech’ includes but is not limited to--
(A) any written or oral statement made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law;
(B) any written or oral statement made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest; or
(C) any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free speech in connection with an issue of public interest.
(2) ACT OF PETITIONING THE GOVERNMENT- The term ‘act of petitioning the government’ includes but is not limited to any written or oral statement--
(A) made or submitted before a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law; or
(B) any written or oral statement encouraging a statement before a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law.
(3) CLAIM- The term ‘claim’ includes any civil lawsuit, claim, complaint, cause of action, cross-claim, counterclaim, or other judicial pleading or filing requesting relief.
(4) GOVERNMENT ENTITY- The term ‘government entity’ includes the United States, a branch, department, agency, State, or subdivision of a State, or other public authority.
(5) ISSUE OF PUBLIC INTEREST- The term ‘issue of public interest’ includes an issue related to health or safety; environmental, economic or community well-being; the government; a public figure; or a good, product or service in the market place. ‘Issue of public interest’ shall not be construed to include private interests, such as statements directed primarily toward protecting the speaker’s business interests rather than toward commenting on or sharing information about a matter of public significance.
(6) PERSONALLY IDENTIFYING INFORMATION- The term ‘personally identifying information’ means first and last name or last name only; home or other physical address including temporary shelter or housing and including a street name or ZIP Code; full date of birth; email address or other online contact information; telephone number; social security number; Internet protocol address or host name that identifies an individual, or any other information that would serve to identify an individual.
(7) STATE- The term ‘State’ means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States. . . .
SEC. 13. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS.
Nothing in this Act shall preempt or supersede any Federal, State, constitutional, case or common law that provides the equivalent or greater protection for persons engaging in activities in furtherance of the rights of petition or free speech.
Hat Tip to Eric Goldman's Technology and Marketing blog.
Goldman favors further legislation targeted at unsupported cease and desist letters.