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Utah Committee Passes 'Games As Porn' Bill

According to a story reported in local paper Daily Herald and highlighted by website GamePolitics, a Utah House committee has passed, in committee form, Republican David ...

David Jenkins

February 15, 2006

1 Min Read

According to a story reported in local paper Daily Herald and highlighted by website GamePolitics, a Utah House committee has passed, in committee form, Republican David Hogue’s bill to make it a felony to knowingly exhibit or sell violent video games to minors, by a 7-2 vote. The bill will now proceed to the Utah House of Representatives, where it will be debated in more detail. The bill has twice failed the same vote, when Hogue tried to have violent video games defined as obscene. It appears to have succeeded this time after the removal of references to other media, to focus purely on video games. Controversially, the bill made no reference to existing ESA ratings, but merely described violent games as those that are "patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors”, amongst other equally ambiguous descriptions. Oddly the bill exempts games based on historical wars, but not automatically those based on current or futuristic ones, from such categorization. The bill applies to both retailers and those “trying to influence a minor”, suggesting the preposterous notion of an older teenager being arrested for encouraging a younger friend to by a Mature rated game. Hogue has welcomed the new result, commenting that: "It's more than a message bill…This is a bill that identifies the effects that different media has on our children." The ESA have responded quickly to the news, with spokesman Scott Sabey saying, "This bill is not needed. More importantly, the bill will be challenged as unconstitutional. To plug violence into an obscenity statute won't work."

About the Author(s)

David Jenkins

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David Jenkins ([email protected]) is a freelance writer and journalist working in the UK. As well as being a regular news contributor to Gamasutra.com, he also writes for newsstand magazines Cube, Games TM and Edge, in addition to working for companies including BBC Worldwide, Disney, Amazon and Telewest.

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