The law, which was introduced by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) has the backing of law enforcement officials. A similar bill has been introduced in the state assembly as well. Both laws would apply to swatting incidents involving calls to any home, not just those of celebrities.
"The recent spate of phony reports to law enforcement officials that the home of an actor or singer is being robbed or held hostage is dangerous, and it's only a matter of time before there's a tragic accident," Sen. Lieu told the Los Angeles Times.
Recent swatting incidents have reportedly targeted Chris Brown, Charlie Sheen, Justin Bieber, Ashton Cutcher, Simon Cowell, Miley Cyrus and the Kardashian family. Just last week, the Beverly Hills police SWAT team arrived at the home of Tom Cruise when a 911 call reported gunfire at the actor's home.
Swatting pranks often use a TTY device to call for help. The device allows the deaf to type text over the telephone. The device was most recently used in the Chris Brown hoax.
So far, no one has been hurt by the prank calls, but police say it's only a matter of time.
Sen. Lieu also seeks to impose a minimum 120 day jail sentence in his bill. However, with overcrowding in county jails throughout California, especially in Los Angeles and Riverside counties, it is unlikely anyone convicted under the new law, if passed, would actually serve that many days. The assembly bill, however, would increase the maximum fine from $1,000 to $10,000 and make it easier for prosecutors to file murder charges if someone is killed in a swatting incident.