GamePolitics received a press release from disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson this morning in which he claimed to be "working with" state officials in Utah to pass video game legislation.
Regarding the supposed legislation, Thompson writes:
Thompson will be in Utah this coming week to work with Utah state officials to pass a new state law that will stop, dead in its tracks, the continuing marketing and sale of “Mature” video games to kids. Utah’s new approach to this problem will be constitutional and it will become a model for other states to follow.
A bit of digging shows that Thompson is scheduled to be in Utah next Saturday, where he will be the keynote speaker at the annual convention of the ultra-conservative Utah Eagle Forum. Indeed, the group appears to be a significant part of Thompson’s ongoing connection to Utah. A convention agenda mentions that Thompson:
…will be talking about the research proving exposure to graphic violence leads to violent children and this year’s legislation to prevent it.
We also note that, despite his disbarment, Thompson remains listed as an attorney in the program.
Via e-mail, we asked Thompson if he was talking to any specific legislators about a game bill and whether he could elaborate on what he meant by "working with." So far, we have received no response.
Still, given the local clout wielded in Utah by the UEF and its president, Gayle Ruzicka, we wouldn’t doubt that some type of Thompson-authored legislation will surface there. Indeed, four state legislators are also scheduled to serve as speakers at the UEF convention.
To be sure, Thompson has quite a history with Utah:
In 2006, then-State Rep. David Hogue (R) tried – and failed – to pass a bill equating violent video games with pornography. Language used by Hogue during legislative hearings mimicked Thompson’s frequent comments on game violence. Gayle Ruzicka spoke out in favor of the bill.
In 2007, Rep. Scott Wyatt’s Thompson-authored bill failed as well, but not before Thompson called for the impeachment of Utah’s popular Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Shurtleff’s offense? He had the temerity to offer a legal opinion that Thompson’s bill was unconstitutional.
In 2008, only weeks after a referee recommended to the Florida Supreme Court that Thompson be disbarred for life, the controversial anti-game violence campaigner was honored with a Freedom Award at the annual America’s Freedom Festival in Provo. Given the circumstances, we found his selection a curious choice.