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article imageHalle Berry backed paparazzi bill protecting stars' kids now law

By Yukio Strachan     Sep 28, 2013 in Entertainment
Sacramento - Academy Award-winner Halle Berry is celebrating after California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Tuesday that protects the children of celebrities from paparazzi.
The bill, Senate Bill No. 606, changes the definition of harassment to include photographing the children of celebrities and public figures in a harassing manner without the permission of a legal guardian.
Under the legislation violators could face up to a year in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Fines would increase for subsequent convictions.
"Kids shouldn't be tabloid fodder nor the target of ongoing harassment," said state Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, the bill's sponsor. "SB 606 will give children, no matter who their parents are, protection from harassers who go to extremes to turn a buck."
Celebrities such as actresses Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner urged lawmakers to support SB606. During Berry’s state Capitol appearances on the measure, Berry told lawmakers the constant presence of photographers has made her daughter scared to go to school.
“My daughter doesn’t want to go to school because she knows ‘the men’ are watching for her,” the actor told the Assembly Committee on Public Safety. “They jump out of the bushes and from behind cars and who knows where else, besieging these children just to get a photo.”
Watch: Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner Testify On SB606 before the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Law enforcement, health advocates, and women and children groups, all supported the measure.
But journalism advocates, including the California Newspaper Publishers Association, opposed the legislation, saying the bill will interfere with reporters and photographers gathering news, CBS News reported.
“It sweeps legitimate newsgathering activities into the new definition of harassment," said Jim Ewert of the California Newspaper Publishers Association, "and exposes everyday activities that journalists do to criminal and civil liability."
According to the The Associated Press, De Leon's office said the bill does not infringe on the First Amendment rights of journalists gathering news because it targets the photographer's conduct, not the act of taking a photograph.
Berry, 47, who won an Academy Award for her role in Monster's Ball, expressed her thanks to Governor Jerry Brown for signing the law, which comes into effect on January 1, 2014.
"On behalf of my children, it is my hope that this is the beginning of the end for those overly aggressive paparazzi whose outrageous conduct has caused so much trauma and emotional distress," Berry said in a statement released by her publicist. "It is for all of us that I rejoice today and hope that this fight will continue and that the proper enforcement of this law will truly make a positive impact on the daily lives of all children."
More about Halle berry, antipaparazzi bill, paparazzi bill, Kevin de Leon, Jerry brown
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