Thanks to state House

Our congratulations and thanks go to members of the state House of Representatives – and especially West Maui Rep. Angus McKelvey – for putting the brakes on the ill-conceived Steven Tyler bill.

McKelvey, as chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee, refused to schedule a hearing on the bill that passed the state Senate earlier in the legislative session.

The bill, backed by Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler, was largely touted as an anti-paparazzi measure but was so broadly written that even members of the public might have run afoul of the law by snapping a picture without a celebrity’s permission.

An Associated Press story in yesterday’s Maui News quoted McKelvey: “To say there is absolutely zero support (in the House) would be an understatement.”

The story said there is an outside chance the bill could survive if chairs of three committees chose to waive deadlines for hearings on the bill or if Speaker Joe Souki referred the bill to a different committee.

“There’s a better chance of people flapping their arms and flying from Lanai to Maui” than for the three chairs to waive the deadlines, McKelvey told the AP. Souki said he would not overrule McKelvey’s decision.

As the bill made its way through the Legislature, attorney Jeffrey S. Portnoy wrote:

“The bill is terrible. It is unnecessary, possibly unconstitutional, and is pandering to a few celebrities at the expense of the media and the public. It has already been roundly criticized by entities like the New York Times. There is sufficient current law available to persons whose privacy rights have been wrongfully violated.

“There are both criminal and civil remedies available for trespass, public disclosure of private facts, and intrusion.”

McKelvey and his colleagues apparently agreed.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.