According to a report relayed by political gaming weblog GamePolitics.com, violent video game-related Oklahoma bill HB3004, which was authored by Republican State Representative Fred Morgan and passed unanimously by the House in March, was approved by a vote of 47-0 yesterday by the Senate.
HB3004 takes a similar stance as Utah Republican David Hogue’s HB257 “Games as Porn” bill, which was struck down in March but would have made it a felony to knowingly exhibit or sell violent video games to minors. This new bill seeks to amend an existing Oklahoma statute that defines things deemed "harmful to minors” such as pornography by adding the term "inappropriate violence” to what is found to be unsuitable for minors according to “contemporary community standards.”
According to the standards put forth in the bill, “inappropriate violence” is taken to mean when “video game or computer software is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors.”
However, due to an amendment added by the Oklahoma Senate, the bill must now go back to the House for approval. If approved, the bill will go to Governor Brad Henry, a Democrat, for consideration. He will have five days to sign the bill into law. If the bill is signed, it will become a law on November 1, 2006.
Similar laws which have been signed over the past year by governors in California, Illinois and Michigan banning the sale of violent games to minors have been struck down by federal courts for First Amendment issues, a fact which was dealt with in some detail at a subcommittee hearing
in Washington D.C. in March, and it's likely that this latest bill will also be challenged by game industry trade groups such as the ESA and the newly merged IEMA/VSDA.