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AP080301043008 paparazzi.JPGThe Assembly voted Tuesday to crack down on paparazzi photographers who harass celebrities, turning back criticism that it would be an illegal restriction on free press rights.

Assemby Bill 2479 by Assemblywoman Karen Bass was sent to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger -- a much- photographed celebrity himself -- on a 43-13 vote.

If Schwarzenegger signs it, AB 2479 would declare that someone could be sued for "false imprisonment" by physically harassing someone else for photos or sound recordings and also tighten up penalties for reckless driving to capture a "visual image."

An Assembly analysis of the bill says it's "intended to curb the reckless and dangerous lengths that paparazzi will sometimes go in order to capture the image of celebrities. Of particular concern is the practice of surrounding a celebrity or the celebrity's vehicle in a manner that does not permit an avenue of escape. In addition, paparazzi have allegedly engaged in dangerous and high-speed chases on the public highways in their efforts to capture photographs. The author contends that this kind of behavior is especially a problem in Los Angeles, with its high concentration of stars and celebrities."

PHOTO CREDIT: Paris Hilton speeds away from the paparazzi running through the streets in chase in West Hollywood, on March 1, 2008. Hilton spoofed the paparazzi while taping a segment for a television show "Pop Fiction," a prank show targeting paparazzi. (Associated Press File Photo/ Kevork Djansezian)



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