NY Lawmakers Almost Come to Blows Over Violent Video Game Bill, Says News Report

June 5, 2007 -

A pair of New York State Senators, debating legislation aimed at violent video games, nearly came to blows themselves, reports the Statewide News Service.

According to the story, bill sponsor Sen. Andrew Lanza (R, left) and Sen. Ruth Hassell-Thompson (D) got into a dust-up about the wording of A8696, Go. Eliot Spitzer's bill which would make selling games featuring "depraved violence" to a minor a felony offense.

From the transcript:
 

Lanza: The cases that have been struck down have been struck down on the principle that states have attempted to prohibit the sale of video games based upon the speech content, that being violence.

Hassell-Thompson: You’re misreading the case. You’re misreading them. I don’t know whether you’re doing it deliberately or what. It’s frustrating me.

Lanza: I’m not misreading the cases. Those are the cases.

Hassell-Thompson: You’re misreading the cases.

Lanza: Absolutely not Senator. We can agree to disagree on that point.

Hassell-Thompson: You got a battery of attorneys sitting behind you. I’m telling you I wrangled with them 3 out of 5 meetings.

Lanza: Maybe you’re missing something.

Hassell-Thompson: Well, we’re paying them. We should fire them.

Lanza: Let’s just be clear. It makes it a felony to sell video games based upon the speech contained therein. That’s what it does. Now it may pass constitutional muster because the speech that is being regulated therein is pornography, which I might add is already regulated and is already prohibited with its distribution to minors. So you might say the governor’s version accomplishes nothing. I’m not saying that but you might say it.


UPDATE: GP has heard from a source who was present and says that while it was clear that no love was lost between Lanza and Hassell-Thompson, the idea that blows were imminent is overstated.



The source adds:
 

Senator Hassell-Thompson and other Democrats on the conference committee argued that the Governor's proposal contained is A8696 is constitutional because it requires that the material to be restricted be both violent and obscene. Lanza pointed out that, if that is true, then the bill doesn't regulate anything that is not already regulated under the obscenity law (hence his reference to "pornography") and is meaningless.

 


Comments

@Judith/Chadachada:

Well, if the theories of toxic oxygen free radicals (as a result of oxidation in our body) helping to cause our bodies to go through the crap we go through as we age are correct, then simply living and breathing is harmful regardless of what we do about it. Yes, MIT researchers have said that oxygen free radicals aren't harmful to yeast but this is something I intend to read a lot more about as I get older.

@~the1jeffy:

I agree with this stance. County music deserves to be made just as popular so that they get taken down a peg on their ability to exist under freedom of speech. ;) I will do my part in making it even more popular by buying the PS2 CMT edition of Karaoke Revolution used or new on eBay.

If it was actually their goal to restrict "pornography," they should have modeled their bill after Maryland's successful bill -- which wisely places the exact same content restrictions on videogames which are applied to all other media, and no more than that. They could have saved a ton of future court-costs this way, as the ESA has made it clear that they will not contest the Maryland law.
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