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Utah, Iowa, Join Game Legislation Band Wagon

Filed under: Video Game Politics
Posted by Jeremy on January 25, 2006 12:11 PM
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Two new bills proposed by state lawmakers in Utah and Iowa aim to curb the sale of violent video games to minors by regulating them. It's no surprise that the bill in Iowa (HF2104) is modeled after the now-defunct California and Illinois video game bills. It seems every state wants to jump on the regulation-of-video-games bandwagon, as it is a popular and easy way to get votes, however, how stupid do state lawmakers have to be to continually plagiarize other states' video game bills that everyone knows will be found unconstitutional (as is the case with CA and IL)? It's a waste of taxpayer's money, but we've already covered that. What is surprising is the new tactic underway in Utah.

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State Rep., David Hogue, has proposed HB0257, which would effectively group violent video games with porn and explicit nudity, adding the line, "inappropriate violence," to the porn law, thus making it a crime to distribute such items to minors.

Very tricky Mr. Hogue. Very tricky indeed. However, this bill conjures up the age old question, "who decides what is inappropriate violence"? The government? A panel of "experts"? Panels of parents? And, given Utah's conservative demographic, I fear for what they would deem inappropriate.

I doubt either bill will get very far, however, that won't stop state after state from attempting similar legislation; all at the taxpayer's expense.

On a side note, the reporting in the Des Moines Register regarding the Iowa bill is appalling. Here is the third paragraph in the article:

The proposed ban is modeled after legislation in other states, such as California and Illinois, that has popped up in response to popular video games such as the Grand Theft Auto series. Players in that game earn points for killing police officers and having sex with prostitutes.

It is misleading and dishonest to use the phrase, "Players in that game earn points for killing police officers and having sex with prostitutes." That is simply not true and anybody who has ever played the game knows that. I'm not saying that GTA isn't violent, and yes, the occasional fictional cop is killed, however, for the Des Moines Register to mischaracterize the game as if you can get high scores for killing cops and sleeping with prostitutes (something that you simply don't have to do in the game at all) is simply irresponsible and is solely meant to have shock value.

As always, we here at Lunabean are all for keeping violent games out of the hands of kids. However, we feel the solution lies in enforcing the current ESRB ratings and creating an effective public service campaign to inform parents about the ratings. We have seen too many cases where parents simply let their kids play "M" rated games.

It's not the job of the gov't to regulate games. That's a parent's job and if they need some help, let's give it to them. Don't decide for them, though, what is or isn't appropriate for their child.






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