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The Sacramento Bee's CapitolAlert blog reports that A.B. 2479 is awaiting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature following a 41-13 vote by the California Assembly that may make news photographers' jobs a little bit harder to do.
The bill is intended to target paparazzi who are the bane of celebrities, neither group of which is in short supply in sunny California. Assembly Bill 2479 subjects violators to civil lawsuits for false imprisonment if they physically harass individuals with their photographic or sound equipment. The measure also imposes penalties for reckless driving in pursuit of a "visual image."
Legislators no doubt were contemplating the scenes played out on tabloid tv in which paparazzi surround a "helpless" celebrity in his or her vehicle, impeding the star's departure while they furiously record the celebrity's image. It remains to be seen whether the bill would pass consitutional muster.