Utah Legislature Will Consider Video Game Bill

Video game legislation which failed to pass the Utah legislature in 2006 appears on its way to a second chance in 2007.

As reported last year by GamePolitics, HB257, sponsored by former Rep. David Hogue (R) passed Utah’s House overwhelmingly, but was never voted on by the Senate. Controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson had a hand in drafting the bill.

Hogue, who made a failed bid for election as a state senator, is now out of politics. His bill, however, lives on after being revived by Rep. Scott Wyatt (R, seen at left).

Now known as HB50, the bill was turned over yesterday to the Chief Clerk of the Utah House by general counsel. The measure seeks to define video game violence as "harmful to minors." Language in the bill defines "inappropriate violence" in video games as that which:

  • appeals to the morbid interest of minors in violence
  • is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and
  • does not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

All in all, the Utah language is quite similar to that which GamePolitics reported on in yesterday’s exclusive story on Massachusetts’ upcoming bill.

The language is also quite similar to Louisiana’s failed 2006 video game law, which was ruled unconstitutional by a Federal District Court judge in November. The following is from Louisiana’s bill, also written by Jack Thompson:

  • The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor’s morbid interest in violence.
  • The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors.
  • The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
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