Political Bickering Stalls New York Video Game Law

If not for a scandal somewhat whimsically known as Choppergate, New York State would probably have a video game law of its own by now.

GamePolitics readers may recall that the Empire State seemed well on its way to passing video game legislation in June. But a bitter feud which erupted between Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R, left)) has derailed much of the state’s pending legislation, including the video game bill.

The scandal is rather messy and involves Bruno’s use of State Police helicopters to get to political fundraising events. There are also accusations that leaks from Spitzer’s office about the chopper rides were calculated to embarrass Bruno.

Things have gotten so ugly that Spitzer and Bruno are said not to be on speaking terms. The feud may delay the state’s legislative agenda into 2008. Newsday quotes Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters on the dust-up:

I don’t know that I would be holding out a lot of hope that the leaders are going to sing ‘Kumbaya’ and come together in the next month. This is a lame-duck session. Everybody is waiting until the 2008 election.

For his part, Spitzer remains publicly optimistic. Writes Newsday:

The governor also identified three other items — collecting genetic information from all criminals, better school meals and keeping violent video-games away from children — as potentially ripe for agreement.

Spitzer warned against exploiting Choppergate. “If anybody among the three of us uses [the scandal] as a rationale, stated or not, for not getting these issues accomplished, we aren’t fulfilling our mandate to the public,” he said, referring to legislative leaders.

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  1. 0
    ryan says:

    hello to all ladies and gentleman
    for me the political bickering of all the senate of the Philippines is not what you looking for some else is that for the good attitude of all the people.thank you

  2. 0
    Duffy ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m ashamed that I never heard of this particular law in my home state. Thankfully, I guess, the politics will shoot it down before the courts have too.

    @Alex G.
    As the others have said, and I’m pretty sure almost if not all of us agree that certain games should be kept out of the hands of younger children. That aside the reason we so diligently oppose legal regulation of video games is not because we disagree with what it attempts to accomplish, but with how they wish to accomplish it, namely legal punishments. These laws are essentially limiting free speech, a right guaranteed by the first amendment. Not to mention that no other form of media, aside from porn which is itself a dubious topic, is regulated by law, it’s all industry policy which has the illusion and practicality of being “law”. All media regulation is self-imposed, there is no legal backing behind any of the rating systems. So why should there be an exception for video games?

    That aspect aside there is also the inevitable next step of outright censorship, which I think you could agree is much worse. All of these laws alleviates the individual of responsibility and liberty. Whether or not these lawmakers realize or purposefully are enacting these laws with that in mind does not matter (except at reelection time 😛 ), we must guard ourselves against such injustices and attacks, malevolent or not.

  3. 0
    Picho, Bannin yer Logics ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Yeah, most of us dont think that children really should be playing games like manhunt or gta, Unless the parents think thier child is grown up enough to actually play those games.

    The problem with allowing them to make laws is one, it takes away from the parents rights. And two, it starts a slippery slope. Cause if they can make it illegal for minors to get, play or even be in the same room as ‘bad games’ then imagine the ramifications and where they will go next.

    First is the ramifications, people will begin to look at gamers in an even harsher light. We basicly will become the spawn of saten to more people. As such it will actually get harder for adults to get games.

    Then they’ll go further. Now that the precedent is set, they’ll try for something else. Once again using ‘for the childrenz!’ bomb to attack it. Its like dominos, once one goes, they’ll push for the next and the next, cause the children will never be safe from imaginary demons.

  4. 0
    MR.B says:

    I think I heard about that story too.I live in a town that has the erie canal running through it (orleans county).This is pretty cool to know that theres other people from western new york who leave comments here too.I’m upset with the state goverment also.My county’s economy is in the toilet for the past few years.We have a F ranking economy.There is ZERO jobs here.All the state and local polticians been doing is complain about the video game issue,helicopter controversy,bickering about the Buffalo opening of Bass Pro Plus,the Sennica road issue and a certain local mayor’s drunken exploits.Even though we have a ethanol plant opening next year,theres nobody trying to create jobs in my area.Our economy is bad condition and all of the policians want to talk about is violent video games.I wholeheartingly agree with Iniquus that our state policians are effed up.

  5. 0
    Terminator44 says:

    “If anybody among the three of us uses [the scandal] as a rationale, stated or not, for not getting these issues accomplished, we aren’t fulfilling our mandate to the public,” he said, referring to legislative leaders…

    …”but exploiting Virginia Tech is just fine.”

  6. 0
    Iniquus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I just realized how I sound (sorry for the double post, by the way). I don’t mean to sound like this is something new in politics. My point was just that this is absolutely nothing new to me for these politicians. That, and this feud has been going on for a while.

  7. 0
    Iniquus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Alex G.
    Most of us agree with you on keeping violent games away from kids. Go back through the archives and look at some of the NYS law stories though. The one Spitzer is probably referencing would make the sales a Class E felony. That’s a can of worms.

    Really, this doesn’t even phase me at this point. Our elected officials in this state are a bit wacky (to say the least). Want another recent example? This may seem OT at first, but give me a minute.

    Quick background: the Erie Canal was mostly man-made. The idea was to go from Lake Erie to the Hudson River in order to have a water route for shipping. Well a long time ago, part of it was filled in, changing the western terminus from Buffalo to Tonawanda.

    Recently, Buffalo fought to have the official, legal end of the canal changed from Tonawanda back to it’s original site. Not physically changed, just on paper. The reasoning being it’s the historic end. And they publicly(sp?) stated it’s because they wanted the government funding for having the historic site. And it was passed. In legal terms, New York State now officially recognizes Buffalo as the official end of the Erie Canal. Now I’m a little biased because Tonawanda is my home town, but still, that’s nuts. It’s pure politics and just one more example of our crazy officials.

    The political news here is nuts. I can’t remember the last time I heard a story about something good a local politician did.

  8. 0
    hayabusa75 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    What a couple of tools. The worst part about politicians is they always find a way to waste time and taxpayers’ money whether they agree with each other or not. It’s either, get nothing done, or get something done that doesn’t help matters anyway.

  9. 0
    nightwng2000 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ok, this Governor is really creepy.

    “…collecting genetic information from all criminals…”

    I wanna see more on this. While the “feel good” legislation may seem reasonable, I can’t help but imagine just how it can go wrong, especially if misused. I’ve seen plenty of “feel good” legislation end up screwing up innocent people’s lives. And based on those prior events, I see no reason why it won’t happen in this case.

    Yeah, I know, a bit OT, but still, it shows just how irrationally gung ho this Governor may very well be.

    NW2K Software

  10. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I know what you mean Alex G, it’s not really so much a question of ‘should these games be out of children’s hands’ as you say, and I live in a country that already enforces the same system for all types of media. I think that is at least part of the problem, simply using Video Games without confronting violence on TV or Movie theatres is discimination in the first part.

    Second is that, to be honest, allowing that regulation would effectively be hinting that there WERE actual detremental effects to these games that are worse than the effects of TV or Movies. Something that isn’t true, but which would be used by Zealots like Thompson as a claim that ‘they were right all along’.

    I think it all boils down to the discimination thing, that ONLY computer games should be regulated in such a way without any reasonable evidence that singling out computer games is warranted or fair.

  11. 0
    Conejo says:

    @Alex G.

    i don’t know, how many of your civil rights would you give up based on lies and deceit instead of facts?

    how many of your civil rights would you just throw away due to someone else’s morals?

  12. 0
    Alex G. says:

    I don’t know, is enforcing laws so that violent games getting into young kid’s hands (I honestly think anyone 17 or over isn’t as big a deal) that bad? I mean, if Jack wasn’t such an egotistical attention-hog, then maybe he’d raise a good point. This would definitely lighten blame on video games because less would be getting in hands of kids, thus less openings to say, “Timmy shot up the school because he played Counter Strike,” no matter how false it may be.

  13. 0
    Coravin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’d say I hope that they realize “fulfilling [their] mandate to the public” also includes not wasting time and money on unConstitutional laws designed to tell the public what their children can and can’t watch, play, and think, but looking at theprofligate and flagrant misconduct and illegality that occured to bring them to such a situation, somehow I doubt the group as a whole has the moral fortitude to actually do their jobs and serve their public rather than fleecing them.

  14. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    ‘Public Fund Waste Simulator 2007!’

    Yes ladies and gentlemen, you’ve seen the blame, now play the game! Modelled on the masters at congress, you too could learn how to use other peoples money for your own political gains! Use the Emergency Services like a three-ring circus! Create pointless laws to suit your political agenda, and don’t pay a penny of your own money to do so!

    Expect a viral marketting campaign to start soon….

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