The California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) has issued the following legislative bulletin, which should be of interest to anyone who uses a car to gather news:
- Assembly Speaker Emeritus Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, recently amended her bill to rein in “out of control” Hollywood paparazzi to allow for severe criminal punishment of photojournalists that violate traffic laws. CNPA has filed a new letter in opposition to AB 2479.
- The bill was approved Tuesday, Aug. 24, by the Senate Public Safety Committee on a party line vote over the objections of CNPA and the California Broadcasters Association. On Friday, Aug. 27, the Senate returned the bill to the Assembly on a 21-13 vote.
- The Assembly will likely take the bill up before the Legislature adjourns Tuesday, Aug. 31. The Aug. 20 amendments, drafted and sponsored by Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, would make it a misdemeanor instead of an infraction to violate any of three existing Vehicle Code Sections — tailgating, reckless driving and interfering with the operation of a vehicle — “with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person for a commercial purpose.”
- The bill would create enhanced punishment: more than two-and-a-half times the penalties for reckless driving without the intent to capture an image, and in the case of reckless driving that places a child in harm’s way, six times as much punishment than for regular violators, up to a maximum $5000 fine and one year imprisonment. AB 2479 would also amend the state’s civil anti-paparazzi law (Civil Code Sec. 1708.8) to include “false imprisonment that is committed in order to obtain a visual image or other impression of the person.”