Friday, November 27, 2015         

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'Dream on,' House says on Tyler bill

By Associated Press


The future is looking bleak for the Steven Tyler Act.

The state legislative proposal pushed by the Aerosmith lead singer would allow celebrities to sue people who take photos or videos of their private moments. But after sailing through the Senate earlier this month after testimony from Tyler at a February hearing, the bill is missing deadlines in the state House, and key lawmakers say they won't push it through.

Rep. Angus McKelvey of Maui, chairman of the first of three House committees the bill needs to pass to get to the House floor, said he won't hold a hearing.

The legislation has no support in the House, said McKelvey, chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee. "To say there is absolutely zero support would be an understatement."

The bill already has missed one internal House deadline. A second internal deadline to hear the bill was Thursday.

House Chief Clerk Brian Takeshita said the leaders of the committees on consumer protection, Judiciary and finance could get around the deadlines if all three agree to put in a joint request to House Speaker Joseph Souki.

But McKelvey said that's not going to happen. "There is a better chance of people flapping their arms and flying from Lanai to Maui."

If the committee leaders don't want to entertain the bill, the House speaker can refer the bill to another committee, Takeshita said.

But Souki said he has no plan to override McKelvey's decision.

Because of the state's biennial Legislature, if the bill doesn't get a hearing this year, it can still pick up where it left off in the session next year. The bill would be able to skip Senate proceedings and go straight to the House committees for consideration.

McKelvey said he has sympathy for Tyler and other celebrities whose privacy rights have been violated. But there are enough legal avenues available to them, including taking the issue to court because privacy is protected by the Hawaii Constitution, he said.

Tyler, who owns a multimillion-dollar home on Maui, earlier said he asked Sen. Kalani English from Maui to introduce the bill after someone photographed him with his girlfriend at his home in December.

Along with Tyler, rock bandleader Mick Fleetwood, who has a restaurant in McKel­vey's district, also appeared to back the bill. Their appearance generated buzz in the state Capitol, as staffers snapped cellphone pictures of the stars and compared them in the hallways after the hearing.

Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne and several other celebrities submitted written testimony in favor of the bill.

National media organizations have staunchly opposed the proposal, saying it would limit freedom of the press.

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