Stateline Story

Calif. legislators looking out for stars behind bars

Somebody has to look out for celebrities. In the wake of media frenzy over Paris Hilton's jail term, lawmakers are considering a bill to make it illegal for law enforcement or court employees to profit from leaked photos of people in custody or confidential information, according to the Los Angeles Times . News associations say legislators are clamping down on press freedoms. "It's the Paris Hilton and Mel Gibson Protection Act," said Tom Newton, general counsel for the California Newspaper Publishers Association.

An Ohio Democratic Party staffer is the latest casualty of the Information Superhighway. Three days after starting her job as the state party's first-ever women's outreach director, 25-year-old Megan Pappada was fired because of a letter she wrote as a freshman at Ohio State University in 2000. In the letter, revealed by an Ohio blogger, Pappada criticized the campus's diversity plan and said she was discriminated against as a Caucasian, according to The Plain Dealer of Cleveland.


It's not the heat or humidity — it's the rhetoric. In 97-degree heat, the Illinois Democratic Party's unity day at the state fair was anything but harmonious. Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), House Speaker Michael Madigan (D) and Senate President Emil Jones (D) used the event to blame each other for a budget standoff and costly overtime session for the state Legislature, according to The Daily Herald . The low point of the event came when a busload of protestors, who said they were working for Blagojevich, booed Speaker Madigan.


Along the Alabama coast, hurricane is a dirty word. After the Gulf Coast was hit by hurricanes Dennis and Katrina in 2005, the state's Convention and Visitor's Bureau President Herb Malone suggested that municipal leaders refer to storms as "tropical occurrence," according to the Associated Press . Malone also directed city leaders to clean up the physical and photographic evidence of past storm damage. "Our consultants always told us consumers have short memories, and we didnt' need to keep reminding them," Malone was quoted in the Sun-Herald of Biloxi, Miss.