The political battle over video games heated up today in California as both sides made strategic moves.
State Sen. Leland Yee, via press release, applauded Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's promised appeal of last month's federal court ruling that California's 2005 video game law was unconstitutional. Said Yee:
I am very pleased to see the Governor's commitment to this issue. This is a common-sense law that empowers parents by giving them the ultimate authority over whether or not their children can play in a world of violence and murder.
For his part, Gov. Schwarzenegger added:
We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions. These games are for adults, and the law I signed ensures that parents have the chance to determine which video games are appropriate for their children.
Yee wasn't finished:
The deliberations in this case took over a year, which shows that the ever-growing body of evidence that violent video games are harmful to children is getting harder and harder to ignore. The medical data clearly indicates that these ultra-violent video games have harmful effects on kids, and thus we have a state interest to protect them.
The $31 billion video game industry has fought any attempt at regulation every step of the way. They fought efforts to publicize their rating system because they thought it would impact sales, and now they're again putting their profit margins over the rights of parents and the well-being of children.
Meanwhile, an ESA press release announced that the video game industry would seek to recover $324,840 it spent in legal fees battling California's law. Said ESA boss Mike Gallagher:
California citizens should be outraged at their elected leaders. Hard-earned tax dollars were spent on defending this law that California's state leaders knew was unconstitutional. Before Senator Leland Yee [the bill's sponsor] proposed this bill, federal and district
courts across the country ruled that the path California was taking would run afoul of the First Amendment.
From early on, the industry warned Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Yee that this bill was unconstitutional and would be thrown out by the courts and that California taxpayers would pay the cost.
We lead in providing caregivers the most comprehensive and effective information and tools to control the content used by their children. And, we invite California legislators, community leaders, family advocates, and the Governor to work with us - as policymakers in Utah, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island already do-in raising awareness and usage of the resources provided.
GP: We should point out for clarity's sake that the timing of Gov. Schwarzenegger's appeal and the ESA's claim for legal expenses are unrelated to one another.