Utah Rep. Mike Morley has officially introduced video game legislation drafted by disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson.
As GamePolitics previously reported, H.B. 353 would amend Utah’s current Truth in Advertising statute. If passed, retailers who claim that they don’t sell M-rated games to underage buyers could be held liable if they did. The measure would also apply to R-rated DVDs as well as tickets to R-rated movies.
The language of the amendment has changed slightly from that which GP reported on Sunday. It now reads:
[Deceptive trade practices occur when, in the course of a person’s business, vocation, or occupation that person:]
(u) (i) advertises that the person will not sell a good or service labeled with an age restriction or recommendation to a person under the age restriction or recommendation; and (ii) sells that good or service to a person under the age restriction or recommendation.
For his part, Thompson issued a press release this morning which says that the purpose of the bill is to "punish major American retailers who falsely claim they do not sell Mature-rated video games and R-rated movies and movie tickets to kids under 17."
While Thompson claims that H.B. 353 has no free speech implications, that remains to be seen; the bill clearly targets certain types of media content.
As GamePolitics readers may recall, Thompson also claimed that his 2006 Louisiana bill was constitutional (it wasn’t) and that Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was a "device," not a form of speech, (he was wrong about that, too).
So, please excuse us while wait for a real constitutional expert to weigh in.
Hearings on the proposal may begin as early as next week.
GP: Thanks to Nathaniel Edwards of LegalArcade.com for the artwork.