New Law Brings Stiffer Punishments on Over-Enthusiastic Paparazzi

Opponents of the law argue it violates the 1st Amendment

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    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 20: General view upon actress Lindsay Lohan arrival at the Beverly Hills Courthouse for her surrender to serve her 90 day jail sentence on July 20, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. Lindsay Lohan was found in violation of her probation for the August 2007 no-contest plea to drug and alcohol charges stemming from two separate traffic accidents. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Despite controversy and heavy opposition, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that imposes harsher penalties on paparazzi that step over the line while trying to snap pictures of Hollywood’s biggest stars. 

    According to the LA Times, the paparazzi bill could include jail time for photographers who drive carelessly in pursuit of celebrities or block sidewalks creating the sense of "false imprisonment."

    One of the main opponents to the bill, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, argues that since trespassing and reckless driving are already illegal, the new bill violates the 1st Amendment. 

    Assemblywoman Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) designed the bill along with Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich. Bass said that Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston spoke to her in August with concerns about some overzealous paparazzi. 

    "Some artists fear there is going to be a terrible accident," Bass. "This is certainly no attempt to regulate the press."

    In addition to the many opponents of the bill, the Governor had many groups and individuals pushing him to sign the bill, reports the LA Times:

    "This new law is specifically targeted to increase public safety,” said Sean Burke, founder and CEO of the Paparazzi Reform Initiative. “In addition to the sheer invasiveness of broadcasting a person’s personal life to hundreds of millions of people worldwide without his or her consent, paparazzi tactics cause severe disruption to the general public."