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Utah 'Games As Porn' Bill Halted For Third Time

Central Utah newspaper the Daily Herald has reported that the state House committee has voted to hold the infamous “games as porn” bill for a third time, following continued concerns over freedom of speech issues over the bill.
Central Utah newspaper the Daily Herald has reported that the state House committee has voted to hold the infamous “games as porn” bill for a third time, following continued concerns over freedom of speech issues. Republican Kay McIff, not the original sponsor of the bill, has announced plans to draft a substitute bill to replace the now thrice defeated original. McIff’s new bill would call for a House Resolution directing the attorney general to file a “friend of the court” notice on behalf of other states currently attempting to introduce anti-game legislation, despite the same constitutional blocks. The original bill attempted to amend an existing law preventing the sale of pornography to minors by categorizing violent video games as obscene, and has previously been approved by the Utah House of Representatives, only to stall at House level. The Daily Herald quotes McIff as saying, "I am concerned, when all the legal experts, including our own attorney general as well as the sponsor, tell us that the bill is likely to fail in a constitutional challenge. One where we cannot control the amount we spend, because we spend our side and then we are potentially obliged to spend the legal costs of the other side." Apart from the likelihood that the bill would fail, the original version of the proposed legislation could also have landed Utah with legal costs as high as $1 million. McIff subsequently described the friend of the court filing as the most cost-effective in terms of money and time. Although a large number of other states have pursued similar anti-games legislation, the Utah bill was seen as the most openly problematic with regard to the U.S. constitution – with two constitutional law experts from the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment heavily criticizing the bill in an editorial for the Salt Lake City Tribune.

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