Moving for a vote before the California State Assembly is an amendment to Californiaâ€™s civil stalking law that will include â€œsurveillanceâ€ as a basis to assert claims. This addition is designed to prevent constant, non-consensual, and non-privileged surveillance of a person. (Specific language has been built into the amendment excluding any official surveillance from being actionable.) The PAPARAZZI Reform Initiative, Inc. emphatically supports this amendment. It does so because this amendment will bolster protections for personal and public safety, individual privacy rights, and will reduce the risks of successful burglaries perpetrated in residential areas.
Victims of domestic violence will no longer have to cope with the intense fear of being constantly watched from nearby vantage points by their deranged assailants. Homeowners will no longer need to shudder at the prospect that their daily movements and homes are being observed by potential burglars seeking to strike at opportune times. Individuals seeking to protect their privacy will no longer be without means to establish the sanctity of their personal lives. Indeed, the â€œsurveillanceâ€ amendment will do much to prevent many vulnerable victims from living in fear without the protection of the law.
California pioneered Americaâ€™s first anti-stalking law in 1990 in response to the stalking and murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer. Now, it lags behind a growing number of states that have included â€œsurveillanceâ€ in their stalking laws to reflect societal changes in the 21st Century. Such states include: New York; Illinois; Colorado; Hawaii; Georgia; Idaho; New Mexico; South Carolina; and, Wyoming. The District of Columbia has also joined this distinguished list. It is time for California to do the same.
Californians should strongly urge their lawmakers to support the â€œsurveillanceâ€ amendment (Assembly Bill 2479). Doing so will encourage lawmakers to act in accordance with their function: to protect public safety and individual liberties. Inaction may result in a victory for stalkers.