Speaker pro tem Leland Yee, author and sponsor of California Bill AB1179, which prohibits the sale of violent video games to children, has responded to the lawsuit against the bill from the Entertainment Software Association and the Video Software Dealers Association. The bill was signed into law recently by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the lawsuit challenges its constitutionality.
"The $31 billion video game industry is not concerned with the health and welfare of our children," said Yee, "they are simply concerned with their own financial interests. The new California law has been drafted with the help of constitutional experts to pass such a challenge and I expect the courts to agree."
In addition, California Governor Schwarzenegger issued the following statement with regard to the recent signing
of AB1179: “Ten days ago I signed into law legislation that requires violent video games be clearly labeled and prohibits their sale to children under 18 years old. Many of these games are made for adults and choosing games that are appropriate for kids should be a decision made by their parents. California's new law will ensure parental involvement in determining which video games are appropriate for their children. I believe strongly that we must give parents the tools to help them protect their children. I will do everything in my power to preserve this new law and I urge the Attorney General to mount a vigorous defense of California's ability to prevent the sale of these games to children.”
Other laws with similar effects, passed in the cities of Indianapolis and St. Louis and the state of Washington, have already been overturned through court action with the help of the ESA or other parties, ruling the bills unconstitutional. The ESA also has currently active lawsuits against similar bills recently passed in Michigan and Illinois.
"History has proven in cases of child labor and physical assault on children that we can and should pass laws to protect them. I am a strong believer in the First Amendment and in free speech, but when a game allows a player to virtually commit sexual assault and murder, as a society we must do what we can to protect our children, as we do for alcohol, tobacco, and pornography, among other items," said Yee. "I look forward to working with the Governor and the Attorney General in making sure this law withstands the legal attacks of the video game industry."