Yesterday GamePolitics reported that video game legislation under consideration in Utah had been shelved while its sponsor, Rep. Scott Wyatt, researches constitutional concerns.
Today’s Provo Daily Herald reports that Wyatt had earlier received a binder from the office of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff containing federal court rulings which struck down such laws in a number of states around the country.
Former Rep. David Hogue (left), who sponsored the original, failed version of the bill in 2006, told the newspaper:
This is one of my great passions. There has been a lot of opposition from the industry, and the Attorney General is twisting (Wyatt’s) arm.
For his part, Wyatt said he did not wish to re-introduce the bill unless he felt the constitutional issues could be addressed:
If it passes, there will be a lawsuit.
In that case, Wyatt expects the federal district and circuit courts to strike down the video game legislation, but said he "does not know how the Supreme Court will rule." Citing nine previous federal court decisions in favor of the video game industry, A.G. Shurtleff said:
In every case, (the industry was) awarded six-figure attorneys fees. There are things you can do to educate parents and use the existing rating system.
Shurtleff, who has publicly come out in support of the ESRB system, recommended that Utah lawmakers await a final ruling on Oklahoma’s video game law. Federal District Court Judge Robin Cauthron issued a preliminary injunction in October which blocks the Oklahoma law from being implemented while she considers her final decision. Shurtleff advised lawmakers to let Oklahoma spend its tax dollars fighting the constitutional issues.