Celeb privacy act passes Hawaii Senate, heads to the House
Not long after he crashed American Idol in drag, Steven Tyler proposed a law to the Hawaiian State Senate, because that's just how the Aerosmith frontman rolls. The bill, heretofore known as the Steven Tyler Act (much snappier than Hawaii Senate Bill 465), aims to protect celebrities from nosy paparazzi by enforcing a civil violation if stars are caught on camera in private moments.
"The paradise of Hawaii is a magnet for celebrities who just want a peaceful vacation,” Tyler, who owns a home in Maui, said in a statement last month. “As a person in the public eye, I know the paparazzi are there and we have to accept that. But when they intrude into our private space, disregard our safety and the safety of others, that crosses a serious line that shouldn't be ignored."
Now, as the Associated Press reports, the Hawaii Senate has passed the Steven Tyler Act. Twenty-three of the state's 25 senators voted in favor of the bill, which is now headed over to the House of Representatives. Senator Sam Slom (a Republican), however, wasn't shy about his opposition.
"We have been the butt of many editorials and jokes across the country for this proposed legislation," Slom said. "My final remarks to Steven Tyler as he sang so eloquently are, 'Dream on, dream on.'"
Slom argued that Hawaii's existing "invasion of privacy" laws were adequate enough. As SPIN's Chris Martins previously noted, the Aloha State's current privacy-related legislation requires some kind of physical trespass to warrant legal action; the Steven Tyler Act would extend that jurisdiction to protect celebrities from being photographed or recorded from afar while on their own, or anyone else's, private property.
Other celebrities endorsed the bill — including Britney Spears, Mick Fleetwood, and the totally camera shy Osbourne family — but national media organizations offered testimony against it, claiming that the Steven Tyler Act infringes on the freedom of the press.
To appease those concerns, the Senate Judiciary Committee adopted the firmer language of an already-existing California anti-paparazzi statute.
"It's better, but it doesn't change its fatal flaws," media lawyer Jeff Portnoy said, arguing that the bill's terms are still too vague. He added, "Our only chance to get some sanity into this is in the House."
The prospect of having an actual United States law named after this guy is pretty craaay-zay.