Steven Tyler Act passes Hawaii senate

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   March 6, 2013 at 8:29 AM

"We have been the butt of many editorials and jokes across the country for this proposed legislation," said Sam Slom, the only Republican in the Hawaii senate.

Twenty-three of the state's 25 Senate members voted in favor of the bill, which aims to protect celebrities from paparazzi by creating a civil violation for taking unwanted photos or videos of others' private moments.

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler 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 tension. Tyler owns a home in Maui — part of English's district — and the senator said the proposal could boost celebrity tourism in the state.

The National Press Photographers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists were among several national media organizations that submitted testimony opposing the bill, expressing concern over preserving freedom of the press.

The vague language of the bill was updated to mirror a similar California statute, but critics say it's still ambiguous. The bill now goes to the House for consideration.

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