Here’s the bill in Utah: It doesn’t define what content is "harmful to minors," so we avoid the phony First Amendment arguments Hollywood loves to make. The bill simply states: If you promise the public you don’t sell adult-rated entertainment to kids, then you had better be telling the truth, because if a parent catches you selling this stuff to his or her kids, then you’re guilty of fraud under the Truth in Advertising Law.
The Entertainment Software Association bragged this week that it spread $4.2 million around to "lobby" politicians at the federal level, with more spread around to state politicians…
Despite Thompson’s assertion, we don’t remember the tight-lipped ESA mentioning its lobbying expenditures at all, much less "bragging" about them. The $4.2 million lobbying figure which Thompson refers to was tracked down by Gamasutra via a public records search and subsequently detailed in a recent news report.
Since we’ve been unable to locate Thompson’s measure on the website of the Utah legislature, GamePolitics asked Thompson to identify the bill and its sponsor. He declined, saying only:
I have a sponsor and a bill, and [the video game] industry is in trouble.
Layton Shumway, who pens a video game column for the Deseret News, suggests that HB14 might be the Thompson bill, but that seems unlikely. In a comment to his op-ed, Thompson offers what could be a carefully-worded hint on the future of the mysterious bill:
I look forward to returning to Utah, possibly this week, to testify for the passage of this bill. I met with state government officials last month in Salt Lake, and there is great enthusiasm for this approach…
Of course, returning to Utah "possibly this week" also means possibly not this week, or possiby not even during the current legislative session.
From Thompson’s description, his bill seems aimed at movies as much as video games. Indeed, he cites poor R-rating enforcement by movie theaters but fails to mention the video game industry’s significant, FTC-documented progress at stopping M-rated sales to minors.
We note also that Thompson is identified by the Deseret News as "a former practicing attorney," which does not seem to fully convey his permanently disbarred status to readers of the Utah newspaper.