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Jennifer Garner, Halle Berry back paparazzi bill in Sacramento

August 13, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two of Hollywood's A-list stars testified Tuesday before an assembly committee in support of a bill that would impose stricter penalties on celebrity photographers.

Actress Halle Berry, who is pregnant with her second child, returned to the Capitol with fellow celebrity mom, Jennifer Garner. Both put their star-power behind SB606, the measure to curtail photographers' aggressive behavior toward children.

"The paparazzi would say to her, like, 'Oh, so how do you feel, Nahla, you might not see your father again? How do you feel about that?' Inappropriate to say this to a child," said Berry.

Senator Kevin DeLeon's bill would would change the definition of harassment to include photographing a child without the permission of a legal guardian. It would also increase fines to $10,000 and allow civil lawsuits in cases where children are harassed because of their parents' occupation.

"I don't want a gang of shouting, arguing, law-breaking photographers who camp out everywhere we are, all day, every day, to continue traumatizing my kids," said Garner, nearly in tears.

But several media outlets oppose the bill. While they do not approve of the paparazzi's behavior, they say the DeLeon measure is too broad and hinders journalists.

"The vague language of this bill does not only apply to the paparazzi, it could easily apply to legitimate news gathering, it could even apply to a member of the public, pretty much anybody with a phone, a camera or a recording device," said Joe Berry of the California Broadcasters Association.

The California Newspaper Association points out the Legislature has passed at least four laws in recent years to crack down on the paparazzi, and none has worked.

Still, these famous parents want lawmakers to step in.

"What this bill will do is give us our rights back so that we can protect our children," said Berry.

SB606 was unanimously passed and is now on its way to the Appropriations Committee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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