Louisiana Video Game Violence Bill Heads To Senate
A report by the local Louisian newspaper the Shreveport Times has indicated that
Democratic Representative Roy Burrell's HB1381 bill, which was drafted with the help of Miami attorney Jack Thompson and deals with the sale of violent video games to minors, has been sent to the Louisiana State Senate for final debate. The bill was already passed
by an unanimous measure of 102-0 by the House of Representatives.
Several similar bills focused on content-based suppression of video games have been signed over the past year by governors in California, Illinois and Michigan banning the sale of violent games to minors, and each has been struck down by federal courts. As a result, some, according to the report, such as New Orleans attorney William Rittenburg, feel that the Legislature should “wait for another state to be successful” before passing it's own law focused on the sale of violent video games.
However, the report indicated that Jack Thompson, who has been an outspoken opponent of violent video games in the past, feels that the bill has been drafted in such a way as to avoid the pitfalls of similar laws by avoiding trying to “define violence” and simply applying the same standards contained within the current law against obscenity.
The measure proposed by HB1381 would allow a judge to rule on whether or not a video game meets established criteria for being inappropriate for minors and be subsequently pulled from store shelves. In the event the bill becomes a law, a person found guilty of selling such a game to a minor would face fines ranging from $100 to $2,000, plus a prison term of up to one year.
However, opponents argued that the the law itself leaves retailers exposed, with no clear definition as to what is and is not appropriate to sell to a minor. HB1381 now heads to the Senate for consideration. If the bill is not amended, it will go to the governor's desk to be signed into law.