Rock stars make rare appearance at legislature
A bill written to protect celebrities, but criticized as too far reaching was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday.
The bill named after Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler, drew not one, but two rock stars.
"Being a personality no matter where we go we get shot, and it’s OK. It’s part of the deal. It kind of drives us crazy. But, as my mom said, ‘You asked for it Steven,'" Tyler told senators.
The original bill would give celebrities, or other public figures a means to sue over intrusive pictures or recordings.
Tyler wants to draw the line at his private life.
He cited a Christmas picture of his family, and one in his Maui bathroom while brushing his teeth.
Fellow rock star and island resident Mick Fleetwood said in the last 10 years living on Maui, he has endured hundreds of similar encounters.
“It’s an intrusion, and it's rude, and it needs to stop," said Fleetwood.
The rockers both understand people will snap pictures of them in public. They're OK with that.
The exasperation kicks in when they're hounded in private spaces.
"I can’t call the cops because they have already taken the picture. And, as they are leaving they are giving you the finger. After a while it just wears on you," said Tyler.
State lawyers and the ACLU cautioned about the unintended consequences the way the bill is written affecting more than just the prying paparazzi.
"The way it is phrased could include law enforcement because they use telephoto lenses and enhanced recording devices," said Deputy Attorney General Caron Inagami.
"Efforts to promote privacy of residents and visitors is of the utmost importance, but not at the expense of first amendment freedoms," said ACLU attorney Laurie Temple.
The senate chair opted to adopt the language of California's law which limits the scope of protections to leased or land owned by the plaintiff.
"Not the public beaches, not the Royal Hawaiian unless the plaintiff owns the land under which the Royal Hawaiian sits," said Judiciary Committee chair Clayton Hee.
Maui senator Kalani English supported Hee's changes to the bill which provides some protections for reasonable expectations of privacy.
"What we are talking about here is the gathering part. That part needs to have reasonable laws to protect everyone involved," said Hee.
A big issue for the Maui rock stars is the access on the ocean where prying eyes intrude on their little piece of paradise.
"I am hoping we still include the marine provision because that is the difference we have since we are surrounded by water," said Sen. English.
Tyler, who is a self-admitted exhibitionist, says the paparazzi laws in California and New York were passed after Princess Diana was killed in a car crash while being hounded by photographers.
"Someone is going to get hurt again there has got to be ground rules," Tyler said.
The bill is expected to pass over to the house where it will likely end up in a conference committee.
English said the governor supports the intent of the bill.
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