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Restrictive anti-paparazzi bill dies in state senate

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CALIFORNIA--While California Sen. John Burton's anti-paparazzi bill passed the state senate and is awaiting action in the assembly, a similar…

CALIFORNIA–While California Sen. John Burton’s anti-paparazzi bill passed the state senate and is awaiting action in the assembly, a similar but more restrictive bill sponsored by Sen. Tom Hayden died without a vote in the state Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-May. The bill was held in committee without recommendation after its final hearing.

Burton’s (D-San Francisco) bill was passed on a 28-0 vote by the Senate in mid-March and is awaiting a vote in the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee. The bill provides for damages in cases where there is a reasonable fear of physical harm, or where the individual trespassed to make an audio recording or “capture an image” of another person.

Hayden (D-Los Angeles) wanted to give public figures “or any other person” grounds for filing lawsuits when they believe they or their families are harassed by the media. The bill would have prohibited the media from coming within 10 feet of a public figure to photograph, videotape or record the person in a way that causes the person to “reasonably expect” emotional or physical harm to family members. The bill would also forbid the media to “intrud[e] on a person’s solitude or seclusion in a way that a reasonable person would consider to be highly offensive.”

The bill’s opponents included the California Newspaper Publishers Association and California Broadcasters Association, which said the bill would hurt legitimate news-gathering efforts.

Sen. Ray Haynes (R-Temecula), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told the AP that he thought the bill was “a little bit broad.” (S.B. 1379; S.B. 262)