The bill by former Assembly speaker Karen Bass to crackdown on paparazzi, AB2479, was approved Tuesday by the Legislature over the objections of media organizations which argued it criminalizes news-gathering. It now heads to Gov. Schwarzenegger, whose family was the victim of paparazzi driving recklessly.
Before the bill was approved, Bass amended it so that three types of vehicle code violations — tailgating, reckless driving and interfering with the operation of a vehicle — could be charged as misdemeanors instead of infractions. Misdemeanors carry a maximum $5,000 fine and one year in jail.
The vehicle code violations could only be raised to misdemeanors if the photographer had “the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of another person for a commercial purpose.”
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.”
The California Newspaper Publishers Association is urging Schwarzenegger to veto AB2479. Here’s CNPA’s report on the bill.