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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

Senators take a break in the action

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Let me see if I have this straight. Missouri is facing a health care crisis, education funding is at a critical juncture and tort reform has become the hot topic of discussion throughout the state. Yet in the middle of these pressing concerns, the Missouri Senate took time to give initial approval to a bill that would make it a crime to record a movie while watching it at a theater?

Though even the bill's sponsor acknowledges that there have been no specific cases of someone secretly recording a movie at a Missouri theater, the bill still made its way through the Senate. It seems that California approved a similar bill last year and two people have been arrested for the stealth moving taping. But given the urgency of other more pressing matters, it makes you wonder why this bill is necessary in the first place.

There was once an episode of Seinfeld where a surly fellow was a movie pirate and conned the sitcom's stars into his criminal activities. Other than that, I have never imagined someone would take a camcorder into a movie theater and try to tape a movie. But apparently it's of such concern in Missouri that the state Senate believed preemptive action was necessary.

Here's a humorous twist. One of the movie goers arrested in California for trying to tape a movie was recording "The Alamo" which may just turn out to be the biggest turkey of the year in Hollywood. So apparently these "criminals" have bad taste as well as criminal intent.

Soon in Missouri - if the House agrees - a repeat offender trying to tape a movie could get up to four years in prison. Yet as it now stands, breaking into the movie and stealing the actual movie tape itself would not bring a punishment that severe.

Maybe the Senate simply needed a light-hearted break from the more concerning issues of the day. If that was their goal, they most certainly succeeded.

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