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State Senate passes Tyler Bill

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:48 p.m. HST, Mar 05, 2013

The Hawaii state Senate today passed the so-called Steven Tyler Bill, which seeks to protect celebrities from overeager paparazzi by creating a civil violation if people take unwanted photos or videos of others in their private moments. 

The Aerosmith frontman from Massachusetts asked Sen. Kalani English to sponsor the legislation after unwanted photos were taken of him and his girlfriend last December and published in a national magazine, causing family drama.

Tyler owns a multimillion dollar home in Maui, which is part of English’s district. English said the proposal could help increase celebrity tourism in Hawaii. 

Twenty-three of the state’s 25 Senate members voted in favor of the bill, which now goes to the House for consideration. 

Sen. Sam Slom, the body’s only Republican, opposed the measure. 

“We have been the butt of many editorials and jokes across the country for this proposed legislation,” he said.

Slom said senators had fun with the bill, but Hawaii has adequate laws protecting privacy and this proposal is an attack on First Amendment rights.

“My final remarks to Steven Tyler as he sang so eloquently are, ‘Dream on, dream on,”’ Slom joked.

Sen. Les Ihara also voted against the measure. 

Besides Tyler, other celebrities have supported the bill, including Britney Spears, Mick Fleetwood and the Osborne family.

They say intrusive paparazzi make it difficult to enjoy simple activities with family and friends.

But national media organizations worry about the proposal’s impact on freedom of the press. The National Press Photographers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists were some of several national media organizations that submitted testimony opposing the bill. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee responded to criticism of the measure’s vague language by replacing the original version with the text of an existing California anti-paparazzi statute. 

But longtime media lawyer Jeff Portnoy said the bill is still problematic. 

“It’s better, but it doesn’t change its fatal flaws,” he said. The measure’s language is still ambiguous and it is unnecessary, given Hawaii’s existing laws, Portnoy said. 

“Our only chance to get some sanity into this is in the House,” he said. 

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CriticalReader wrote:
How does the bill define celebrity? I know a lot of people who consider themselves "celebrities", who just aren't. Is it illegal to whip out your camera phone if you see a "celebrity" walking down the street? Can the press take pictures of prisoners or defendants at the courthouse?
on March 5,2013 | 10:53AM
UNConnection wrote:
I believe the bill wil make it illegal take pictures of anyone in "private moments," regardless of celebrity status. The question is what are considered "private moments"? If I'm on the beach and you take a picture of your family with me in the background, am I allowed to sue? That moment may have been private for me. This is a ridiculous law and is ripe for abuse.
on March 5,2013 | 11:11AM
cojef wrote:
"CriticalReader and UNConnection" both stress the salient points of this legislation, private moment and celebrity. Both points are hard to define to finite degree and thus adjudication will encounter countless debates, thus negating the law's effectiveness. I do not believe the California law went as far as defining private moments in any particular environs. I could be wrong???
on March 5,2013 | 12:06PM
steveoctober wrote:
Good point. A celebrity can be a mass murderer. Evidence is through the individual being front-page material, drawing revenue and ratings for the publisher. Therefore, the murderer, who will get off scott-free , will be able to seek out civil penalty relief left and right on everyone out there who tries to photograph him as the criminal court process makes the entire ordeal to become a "private moment" for him. Very bad law and a complete waste of time for politicians, being paid on the back of taxpayers, to even debate about. Don't know how this bill even got this far when it was suggested by a non-resident who doesn't pay state income taxes.
on March 5,2013 | 01:32PM
96706 wrote:
Another Law, but who's going to enforce it?
on March 5,2013 | 11:00AM
serious wrote:
You got it. I don 't know how these people get elected--we have problems, concerns in this state--things to do--but they are Democrats. Remember when our past Senators were termed the most inefficient in the Senate??? These go down as the best of the best and they GET PAID WHAT???????
on March 5,2013 | 11:32AM
allie wrote:
on March 5,2013 | 12:48PM
false wrote:
our elected leaders are D U M B
on March 5,2013 | 11:11AM
false wrote:
our elected leaders are LOLO
on March 5,2013 | 11:11AM
akuboatcaptain wrote:
i am a STAR! take my pic, and i'll sue you!
on March 5,2013 | 11:12AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
I anticipate some wide spread and well deserved mockery of our elected buffoons for this one.
on March 5,2013 | 11:17AM
allie wrote:
true..very embarrassing to see them bow and scrape in front of this simian.
on March 5,2013 | 12:48PM
Wonderful_World wrote:
Don't they have more pressing issues to tend to? If not we should send them home & not pay them for the rest of the legisltive session.
on March 5,2013 | 11:23AM
loquaciousone wrote:
What a wonderful bill. No doubt hour legislators are second to none in their efficiency and knowledge of the laws. We should all give them a 25 percent raise. How about they vote on it?
on March 5,2013 | 11:25AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Let me guess.......25 out of 27 again. Bingo.
on March 5,2013 | 12:45PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Looks more like a picture from the Planet of the Apes too me.
on March 5,2013 | 11:49AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Looks more like a picture from the Planet of the Apes too me.
on March 5,2013 | 11:49AM
Wonderful_World wrote:
It sure does...now that you mention it.
on March 5,2013 | 12:16PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Stop disparaging Dr. Cornelius! I don't like it when you monkey around. It makes me go ape.
on March 5,2013 | 12:44PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Uh let's make that vote 23 out of 25 again. I got to stop drinking before dinner.
on March 5,2013 | 12:46PM
retire wrote:
We are the fools who elected these fools.
on March 5,2013 | 11:54AM
Bdpapa wrote:
They spent way too much time on this stupid Bill.
on March 5,2013 | 12:11PM
kds wrote:
Not only is this bill ridiculous on its face, did anyone bother to notice when this law is supposed to take effect???? July 1, 2050. YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT, 2050!! 37 YEARS FROM NOW. What is the point? It's just a symbolic gesture at this point. Our Senate, the media, lobbyists, State Judiciary, Attorney General's office and countless other government employees have wasted their time on something that will not be in effect for another 37 years. Who knows what Hawaii will be like in 2050? What a colossol waste of time. Please House, do the right thing and just kill this bill and never let it see the light of day again.
on March 5,2013 | 12:30PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
The date doesn't matter, that gets handled by the House. This bill is seriously flawed, Even USA Today and the New York Times point out that it probably would not withstand legal challenge. The irony is all the celebrities who work so hard to get media coverage during their Hawaii vacation (just read Tom Moffat's weekly column) then cry about it when they get something they don't like. The old time celebrities had class and just went on with their lives and local folks gave them the eyebrow greeting but never bothered them and all was cool. These publicity hounds today are so wrapped up in themselves and think they deserve to be worshiped and given more respect than the average person gets.
on March 5,2013 | 12:42PM
Mythman wrote:
Since when did the legislature care whether or not a bill is constitutional?
on March 5,2013 | 12:36PM
loquaciousone wrote:
I dunnoo....
on March 5,2013 | 12:44PM
OahuRes22 wrote:
What happened to simply respecting the privacy of others? Celebrities are people that make uku pile of money! So what! They are still people. It's the people who want to profit from the photos that are against this bill. Let "celebrities" roam and be free in Hawaii. Who knows, maybe they'll be more inclined to stop and chat.... and oh yeah.. take pictures with the locals and tourists!! Dah!
on March 5,2013 | 12:37PM
Bdpapa wrote:
S/A, please show us how each member voted!
on March 5,2013 | 01:39PM
tiki886 wrote:
44 States have passed "Jessica's Bill" to provide stiff penalties for child rapists and abusers. And yet Hawaii thinks Steven Tyler Bill is more important.
on March 5,2013 | 02:04PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
I guess as long as they are wasting time on this garbage, they aren't raising taxes or raiding funds.

But if this passes, they will have an unenforceable law that violates the 1st amendment. And HPD already has its hands full with real criminals.

Do you think Hawaii will start extraditing tabloid photographers back here to face charges of violating Stephen Tyler's privacy, because by time the photo's get published, they will be back on the mainland. And they will need mainland and international tabloids to turn over employment records to get the name of the photographer.
on March 5,2013 | 02:25PM
shanik wrote:
on March 5,2013 | 03:42PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
The headline should read: State Senate asking to be b*tchslapped by SCOTUS for first amendment violation.
on March 5,2013 | 04:08PM
Rickyboy wrote:
Photo op for the senators. All show no go.
on March 6,2013 | 08:54AM
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