A California Congressman with a long history of targeting video games for legislation is at it again.
Last week Rep. Joe Baca (D) introduced H.R. 231, a bill which would require that warning labels be placed on any game rated T (13 and older) or higher by the ESRB. Baca’s bill is titled "The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009."
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) co-sponsored the measure which would apply to both packaged and digitally distributed games. The bill has been referred to the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
As reported by the San Bernardino Sun:
[The bill] creates a new rule within the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which forces games with a Teen rating or higher to be sold with a simple warning label, reading: "WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior."
While Baca has proposed several video game-oriented bills in Congress over the years, none have passed. Lately, he seems to have focused his attention on the ESRB rating process.
In 2007 Baca introduced a bill which would have required the Federal Trade Commission to report on the ESRB’s effectiveness.
UPDATE: Rep. Baca’s office has issued a press release on H.R. 231, including these comments from the Congressman:
The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families, and to consumers – to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products. They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility. Meanwhile research continues to show a proven link between playing violent games and increased aggression in young people. American families deserve to know the truth about these potentially dangerous products.
We must hold the video game industry accountable and do everything in our power to ensure parents are aware of the detrimental effects that violent games can have before making decisions on which games are appropriate for their children to play. I am proud to introduce the Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009, and am hopeful my legislation can work to stop the growing influence of violent media on America’s children and youth.