Is there a taste for video game law in Oklahoma?
Even while one Sooner State video game law is under review by a federal court, there’s another working its way through the legislative process.
Veteran GamePolitics readers may recall that, in 2006, Oklahoma was one of three states which saw video game legislation passed and signed into law (Louisiana and Minnesota were the others).
The 2006 Oklahama statute, written by lame duck State Rep. Fred Morgan, a Republican, was of the variety that seeks to declare video game violence “harmful to minors” in the same way that pornography is considered by the law.
After Gov. Brad Henry (D) signed the bill into law, the video game industry appealed. A preliminary injunction, issued by Federal District Court Judge Robin Cauthron, blocked the Oklahoma law from taking effect. Judge Cauthron has yet to issue a final ruling.
In the midst of that ongoing legal battle comes word that a new video game bill is under consideration by the Oklahoma legislature. HB2031, introduced by Rep. Mike Shelton (D, left), requires game retailers to provide game buyers written notice that the product they are buying may contain violence which may be harmful to minors. From the proposed law:
Every retailer engaged in the business of selling or renting video games to the general public shall distribute to any customer who is purchasing or renting a video game, a written notification that the video game may contain violent content and that said content may be harmful to minors.
Rep. Shelton’s proposal would direct Oklahoma’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to prepare the written warning. In its current form, the bill does not discriminate between an M-rated blood fest like Gears of War or a game suitable for a toddler, say Kirby’s Air Ride. Retailers would be required to ensure that every purchaser of every game received the written notice.
The bill has been referred to committee.