Legislator Tries to Amend Game Law That No Longer Exists

It’s only January, but Illinois Rep. Robert Pritchard (R) already seems like a lock for Clueless Politician of the Year.

Pritchard, who absolved guns and instead blamed violent video games for last February’s shooting rampage at Northern Illinois University, has outdone himself by attempting to amend a video game content law which was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge more than three years ago (i.e. – it no longer exists).

For an ironic humor bonus, the defunct law which Pritchard seeks to amend was originally pushed through by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D), who was ousted today by the Illinois State Senate for corruption in office.

Longtime GamePolitics readers will recall that Blagojevich spearheaded his state’s ill-fated attempt to legislate video game content. The big-haired Guv signed the game bill into law in July, 2005, only to have it ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kennelly in December of that year.

No one has given much thought to the Illinois game law since then – except, apparently, for Rep. Pritchard, who inexplicably sought to amend the Blago bill yesterday. Pritchard submitted language designed to shield minors from sexually explicit video games. From Pritchard’s amendment:

Provides that the exhibition to or depiction to a minor of a sexually explicit video game is a petty offense in which a $1,000 fine may be imposed.

Nice sentiment, but embarrassingly bad execution.

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  1. Phlopsy says:

    Your assessment here is not entirely accurate. The court’s decision enjoins any further enforcement of the law as it was written, but the language is still on the books. So to say it not longer exists so you can’t amend it is a misstatement. 

    If you wanted to rewrite the struck down law in a manner to take the court’s objection into account, or retailor it in any way, the appropriate way would be to draft a bill which amends it, as it is still on the rolls unless another legislative action removed it. 

    His goal is dubious, but this legislative strategy is the proper method. 

  2. Andrew Eisen says:

    It’s not bias, it’s simply what Pritchard said.

    "[Gun control] doesn’t seem to impact the kind of gun violence that goes on. I think we need to broaden the discussion to include what other factors are weighing on these kind of deranged individuals.  I think video games is a part of the problem, television, movies. Just a whole culture of violence."


    Andrew Eisen

  3. PHOENIXZERO says:

    There are many times when Dennis whips out his bias, just need to get use to it and try not to stare directly at it.

  4. Zero Beat says:

    Only if you’re going to be corrupt.  Wait, I think I figured it out…


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  5. hayabusa75 says:

    Is it some kind of prerequisite to have the worst hair possible in order to go into politics?

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  6. Zero Beat says:

    So much corruption that it’s actually pretty appropriate to have the Gotham of the Nolan Batman films based in Chicago.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  7. deuxhero says:

    Oh-no Thompson is one crazy man with a 20 year fight, but IIllinois is one big ball of coruption that has been growing for far longer.

  8. HarmlessBunny says:

    I don’t know… Illinois is pretty tame compared to Florida. There they actually gave a paranoid and delusional crackpot who has naracissistic tendancies to harass good folks and launch faux crusades against rap music, shock radio, and video games. From what I understand this thug spent most of the time lying and chasing ambulences/massacres before they finally disbarred him for his 20 year history of misconduct.

  9. DavCube says:

    You would know more about embarrasingly bad practice of law than anyone here.

    Oh wait… you’re oblivious to that. Never mind.

  10. chadachada321 says:

    I don’t mean to sound…well…sensitive, but saying "absolved guns" at the beginning almost seemed to carry a biased connotation to me…not that I don’t agree that this guy is a) an idiot and b) stupid, but there were many things besides guns that are too blame (mental capacity, etc.)

    I really don’t want to start a flame war, and I don’t even mind what you, Dennis, write, as this is YOUR site, I’m just trying to keep an unbiased story going. I’ve seen what kinds of arguments happen with gun topics here…


    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  11. Father Time says:

    "Provides that the exhibition to or depiction to a minor of a sexually explicit video game is a petty offense in which a $1,000 fine may be imposed."

    So give your 17 year old grand theft auto IV and you could be fined up to $1,000 (I think the opening scene qualifies as psuedo masochistic although there’s a part in San Andreas that definitely qualifies although come to think of it hiring hookers may be enough).

    Really I checked and giving it to your own kid breaks the proposed law.

    Oh and it should be noted that it covers more than games.

    "Material" means (i) any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, film, video game, computer game, video or similar visual depiction, including any such representation or image which is stored electronically, or (ii) any book, magazine, printed matter however reproduced, or recorded audio of any sort.  "

    Oh and it has the standard harmful to minors jargon (good thing it does or a photo of michealangelo’s david would qualify).


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  12. Lost Question says:

    everyone lets give the man a slow clap for his attempted acomplishment and then pray that this will be the bottom of the barrel for this year at least

  13. Doomsong says:

    You mean kids don’t always do exactly what we think they should? "gasp"

    Totally agree with you on this, I remember all the stuff I did when I was a teen and have no delusions about my son running into the same kind of thing. The only way to prepare him for it is to be honest and not try to hide that stuff from him.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety" – Benjamin Franklin

  14. chadachada321 says:

    Then again, most parents don’t watch their kids all of the time. I *embarressingly* admit that I’ve played strip poker (several times) with a group of guys/girls before, and we were all only 15-17 years old at the time. Kids are more likely to do the real thing than try and find a video of it..


    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  15. sortableturnip says:

    The aids were too busy slowly killing his body…plus, they don’t talk much due to the fact that they are inside his body…

  16. sortableturnip says:

    Legislator:  Is the edits to that amendment done yet?

    Secretary:  Almost…You do realize that this law was deemed unconstitutional?

    Legislator:  Quit pulling my leg…that law was foolproof!

  17. Rabidkeebler says:

    That was what I was thinking.  Honestly, you would thinke one of his staffers would know about this.  I have a friend who works for a state senator in the state I live in, and before her boss would do something, they would atleast have her check it out and do some research.  This is just sad though (in an amusing lol sort of way).


    Foaming at the mouth

  18. Brainswarm says:

    The law still technically being on the books is irrelevant to him being an idiot.  Even a non-binding resolution would have been a better use of his time.

  19. Macknzie says:

    Just to be clear, laws that are held by courts to be unconstitutional are still on the books, they’re just unenforceable.  So if you open the IL statutes to the correct page, you’ll see the law (albeit with an annotation that says the law has been overturned).

    There are lots of unconstitutional things still floating around out there.  At least one southern state still has segregation as part of the state constitution.  Of course, it can’t be acted upon, but it’s still there.

  20. Truec says:

    Read again.  It has nothing to do with kids getting their hands on the games.  He doesn’t want people letting kids watch them play sexually explicit games, which happens pretty often (I’m using a very open ended definition of sexually explicit, mind you).

  21. Freyar says:

    Save the children! Save the children! Their poor impressionable minds, and their virgin eyes!

    Bah, when will these politicians understand that the box-art for sexually explicit games (that are sold on shelves) are traditionally safe to look at in public (if not a mild amount of embarrasment if it’s a specific kind), and that parents (given that they follow what they should as parents) will keep their kids from playing games that are not for them.

    Mature rated titles are not meant for kids. Video Games are not for kids, just like strip poker is not for kids.

    People make a big deal about kids getting their hands on these things, but won’t listen to the facts when they are contrary to their opinion. Kids don’t get their hands on these games as much as the politicians and "watchdog" groups would like to think.


    Oh, and to be on topic, I really wish we’d get more passionate gamers in politics.

    —- There is a limit for both politicians against video games, and video games against politicians.

  22. Doom90885 says:

    Typical politician I’m surprised that nobody here is tearing this guy apart for the obvious hypocricy that video games are so dangerous and harmful yet they refuse to take a stand on real guns that take real lives. I wish America would just flat out admit that it has a gun fetish and that despite the overwhelming amount of lives lost because of irresponsible owners, not even counting criminals and yet nothing is done to keep weapons out of the hands of these imbeciles, most who can’t be trusted with a water pistol. As long as this is the case, all the complains from the politicians and watchdogs will fall on deaf ears.

  23. TBoneTony says:

    What an absolute nutcase.

    Trying to admend a legislation that was declared as unconstitutional 3 years ago….

    What a waste of tax payer money.


    Also videogames don’t even have real people. They have digital people, and also with the AO18+ rating not allowed on the store shelves in America, there is no way that there would ever be any sexually explicit games on the store shelves.


    Would some in government in the USA, UK, Europe or even in Australia, PLEASE DO SOME RESEARCH BEFORE GOING ON RAMPAGING STATEMENTS LIKE THAT!!!!!



  24. BearDogg-X says:

    In the words of Carlos Mencia, "DEE-DEE-DEE!!!"

    Idiot of the Year candidate this retard Pritchard is.

    Geaux Saints, Geaux Tigers, Geaux Hornets, Jack Thompson can geaux chase a chupacabra.

    Proud supporter of the New Orleans Saints, LSU, 1st Amendment; Real American; Hound of Justice; Even through the darkest days, this fire burns always

    Saints(3-4), LSU(7-0)

  25. GoodRobotUs says:

    I thought he was trying to re-submit it with an amendment, if he hasn’t even realised that it was ruled unconstitutional then that’s even funnier.

    So much for finger on the pulse…

  26. Mad_Scientist says:

    Haha, at first I misread the article, didn’t realize what had actually happened. Not sure how you amend a law that doesn’t exist.

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