BREAKING: Jack Thompson Bill Under Discussion in Utah House

We caught the webcast just as it was beginning. What follows is essentially a live blogging of today’s hearing…

The Utah House has just begun deliberations on HB 353, the video game/movie bill originally crafted by disbarred attorney Jack Thompson. The first order of business was to pass amendments to the measure.

With amendments passed the discussion on the bill has begun. Rep. Michael Morley, bill sponsor, is now speaking. Morley can be seen in the screenshot at left, taken moments ago from the webcast of the hearing. View it live.

So far, the legislators who have spoken are uniformly behind the measure, which appears to enjoy bi-partisan support. Speaking on behalf of the bill:

  • Rep. Brian King (D)
  • Rep. Sheryl Allen (R) – Allen discussed the growing importance of Utah’s video game industry
  • Rep. Kraig Powell (R)
  • Rep. Steven Mascaro (R) – wanted clarification on how bill language affects retailers
  • Rep. Susan Duckworth (D) – commended Morley for making amendments and reminded the body of parental responsibility

Rep. Morley, summarizing, said that "retailers" are no longer opposed to the bill, which indicates that the amendments may have watered down the potential impact of HB 353.  Morley said that some movie owners also have dropped their opposition.

Voting now occurring… HB 353 passes 70-2. The measure will now move to the Utah Senate for consideration.

Thompson has just e-mailed a comment:

70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere.  The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better. Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law!  

UPDATE: The amendments link has been updated to incorporate the most recent changes (Feb. 27).

UPDATE 2: We have learned that the Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents video game retailers, remains opposed to the bill. Morley’s comment concerning retailers dropping their opposition was likely referring to the Utah retailers’ trade group.

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  1. Austin_Lewis says:

    Even more fun, look at what Dee Snyder (twisted sister) did to Al Gore’s dumbass wife (even more of a dumbass than he is) back when she was parading around trying to censor music for the childrenz.  Hilarious.  He’s a fairly well spoken individual.

  2. Conejo says:

    i’m not under 18, but i think next time i go buy a game i’m going to wear a fake moustache.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  3. Nocturne says:

    OK I’ll take you to the cinema, the decapitations, disembowlings, immolations, amputations, torture are fine, but if there’s even a suggestion of a nipple we are leaving!!

  4. Zerodash says:

    The Eagle Forum and the Christian Right in general has too much power and $$ for the games industry to fight a "public image" battle.  They would all cry foul about how those evil games developers are attacking "family values" groups.  Even worst, the industry can find little help from left-leaning groups/interests because Right-Wing laws with a chilling effect on game expression is actually in line with the nanny-state mentality.

    Perhaps if the industry was more interested in fighting on principal, and not afraid to get dirty.  Look at what Vince McMahon did to the PTC (was that the group?).

  5. TBoneTony says:

    I can’t help but wonder if the Videogame industry is just waiting for the bill to be passed, then challenging it in court of law when they also would have recorded evidence of slander from the Eagle Forum with their "Cop killing and pornagraphic GTA" statements.

    Yes, I often wonder if the Games Industry only fights the unconstitutional bills in the courts, while staying quiet when all the news coverage is going on and even in those opening stages when people who have problems with the bills needed to be there in the house to state the full opposition.

    Also if the industry was ever serious about their public image, they would most likely sue the Eagle forum for Slander as well as other news and family groups.

    But then, that would not be good for public support, remember how the other industries were portrayed badly by environmental organisations?

    Same thing here.

    So far, I just have a completely different outlook on life knowing that this has been happening for a long time in many different parts of the world.

    The public interest is only favored as the good while the commercial industry is favored as the evil, but as I have known from many Anime/Manga/Japanese RPG’s and even Star Wars is there is no clear deffinition between good and evil, because what one might consider as good could really be evil.

    The wolf in sheeps clothing for those who have read the bible.

  6. black manta says:

    If that’s the case, then expect the MPAA and the association of movie theaters (I forget their actual name) to retaliate full force.  No way in hell will they stand for that.  Incidentally, I’m not surprised the movie indutry would have another tussle in Utah.  I seem to recall a flap a few years back where they wouldn’t let certain movie theaters show Brokeback Mountain.  I’m sure there have been other incidents, too.

    Typical Jack.  He probably only meant to bring movies into it just so it wouldn’t appear his bill would single out video games, even though that was his intended target all along. So while was aiming at the gaming industry, he hit the movie industry instead.  Like others said, yeah, Jack.  Great going.  The gaming industry may not have much backbone, but you know damn well that Hollywood will be merciless towards you.

    To quote from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, "Like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target!"

  7. Mattsworkname says:

    Hmm, anyone else smell that from thompson, smells like, desperation.

    To be honest, the industry will kill this bill in twenty seconds. Plus, he had to bring in the movie industry, and you KNOW they ain’t gonna take crap from anyone. If the industry had real balls, they’d sue and then try to pass a bill which requires "All legal costs for failed legislation to be paid for out of the legislators pocket". That would put a stop to this crap in a hurry.

    Then again, if the industry had balls, they’d threaten lawsuits on just about every news network, thompson, and every legislator who tried to pull this crap.


    Yukimura is still here "Honor, that is what matters, isn’t it? " Yukimura Sanada, from Samurai warriors 2

  8. Stealthguy says:

    "Just hope like you always do that no one will bother to fact check your assertions that you were the sole author."

    Fox News anyone?

  9. asmodai says:

    Incorrect, this is a major victory over common sense.

    What happens when you make something illegal?  People either stop doing it or go underground.

    They have just made it illegal to "advertise that you don’t sell to children and then sell to them".

    Yup, if you say "I don’t sell to kids" and then do, you’ve broken this rule…

    Simple solution, don’t advertise the fact.  Then you can pretty much sell to kids if you wish and this piece of shit, waste of US taxpayer dollars won’t make a lick of difference.

    Ignore JT’s propaganda, you know that your enemy is impotent when they have to celebrate victories this hollow.. =)

  10. Kincyr says:

    Parents are assholes, especially in the case of movies.

    agreed, especially in this case: "annonymous: there is this post on the IMDB board asking if saw III has any nudity because they want to know if they can take their kids to it"

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  11. Zerodash says:

    "70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere.  The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better. Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law! "

    No, this is a minor victory for Christian zealots who are trying to turn the country into a Theocratic nightmare.  Parents already have control over what comes into their homes because they provide the money kids might use to shop AND they own the homes their kids live in. 

    I really am beginning to hate this country…


  12. Meohfumado says:

    Grats Jack on getting your toothless bill almost passed.  I’m sure JT feels it is just a slippery slope from this bill to the outlawing of "violent and/or pornographic" material in all media….but really this bill is just a tick on the ass of the dog that is the entertainment industry….and it doesn’t even have lyme disease.


    "You know what I wish? I wish all the scum of the Earth had one throat and I had my hands about it."

  13. NovaBlack says:


    he said that ‘enter your age’ boxes on websites were not valid age checks. fair enough i can buy that.

    Then he said that credit cards werent a valid form of age verification… right.. strange because the FTC seems to think that they are…

    Then he called for all online game sales to be prevented because there were no adequate age verifications in place, n kids were getting violent games (all the secret plan of ‘the video game industy’ apparently ) n it was vitally important.


    So to support his super tight over the top view.. he undermines his ENTIRE argument.. when he makes a bill that seems to suggest that a 10 yr old kids saying:



    Is effectively all the proof of age that retailers need. HAHAHAH. what an absolute idiot.

  14. Michael Chandra says:

    I’m going to give a clear and quick opinion here:

    1: The bill is toothless vs game retailers, because of the following reasons:
    – They don’t advertize it anyway, so they’re immune.
    – They got rules in place and inform employees of the rules, so they’re immune.
    – Due to the 30-day system they’re supposed to get a heads-up, meaning they’re basically immune.
    – They can easily claim the buyer deliberately misrepresented their age, by appearance, behaviour or words, so they’re immune.

    2: Movie theaters are SCREWED.
    – They have no control over the kiosks and online sales, can’t guarantee 100% foolproof age-checking.
    – They don’t train the kiosk employees. Prolly ain’t even got jurisdiction over them.
    – They’ll be held responsible for it anyway, or the kiosks will who damn sure can’t afford to train their people.
    – Parents are assholes, especially in the case of movies.

    In other words, the game retailers are in the clear, all movie theaters are going to either go bankrupt or stop mentioning age recommendations.


    It’s constitutional but goes after the wrong targets, the ones they claim they’re NOT after. Good job.

  15. BearDogg-X says:

    At least there were 2 people intelligent enough to vote against this steaming pile of monkey crap.

    What’s sad is that the three people that voted against the bill in committee didn’t vote against it in the full House.

    Though it is toothless, it’s still unconstitutional.

    Hope the piece of trash Metropolitian Moron of Miami enjoys his Pyrrhic "victory" while he can, because the clock’s still ticking to Noon next Thursday, when the session must end regardless of what’s still on the table. Like someone said, he’s celebrating getting into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament like he won the whole tournament.

    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)

  16. Neeneko says:

    And even then it would only apply if the store did not include ‘do not do this’ in their training program and that employie took that training withing 30 days of being hired.

  17. Charax says:

    the amendments are great, especially this one:

    "(B) the buyer intentionally misrepresented the buyer’s age to the person at the time good or service was provided."

    Obviously underage kid (OUK): Can I buy GTA4 please?
    Clerk: Are you old enough for it?
    OUK: Um…yes
    Clerk: ok then *sells game*

    This one amendment means that all a seller has to do is ask someone if they’re old enough and they can’t be touched by the proposed law.

    By agreeing that they are old enough, or stating that they’re of an age appropriate to the game, the buyer has intentionally misrepresented the buyer’s age to the seller at the time the service was provided. It’s not even a case of "Don’t advertise that you won’t sell to people underage" anymore, it’s just a case of having to ask – you don’t need to require any proof of age whatsoever.

    Well F**king done, JT. Well done indeed.

  18. Nekowolf says:

    "This is a huge victory for parents everywhere."

    Two things qualify for a victory. One, if it stays; if I take a city for a few days, only have be rooted out again, that’s no victory.

    And secondly. There needs to be an actual enemy.

    While I’m not sure about the first, I definitely know all there is in the second is fictitious. And fictitious enemies do not count.

  19. Mattie says:

    This is a harmless bill, at the most it’ll give JT a reason to come here and bitch about how he won and the gaming industry is doomed.

  20. Andrew Eisen says:

    Wow, retailers would have to try really, really hard to get bitten by this law.

    Not only are they exempt if they have a training program regarding the policy, the cashier attended that program, and corrective action was taken but no one can file a lawsuit without giving the retailer 10 days to correct its policy.

    Toothless?  This law couldn’t even gum you.


    Andrew Eisen

  21. black manta says:

    Oh wow, Jack. Yes, congratulations on your truly hollow victory.  Wow, you really showed us.  You really have us just right where you want us, don’t you?  We’re all quaking in our boots now for sure.

    Seriously, though, if this is what it took to get one of your lousy "laws" passed; watering it down to the point where it’s no more effective than the paper it’s printed on, then hooray for you.  You’ve just passed a toothless law.  So much for your little "crusade."  Yeah, you can prance around and take credit for it all you like.  The truth of the matter is this wouldn’t have even passed constitutional muster had it not been for the amdendments made by the other politicians who have a much finer grasp of the law than you ever will.  At this point however, it’s been altered to the point where it can’t even be considered yours anymore.  It’s kind of like if your wrote a draft screenplay that has been passed through several other writers.  Sure the core idea of it is still there, but it’s been fiddled around with so much that very little of what you even wrote is still there.  So yeah, take all the credit for it.  Just hope like you always do that no one will bother to fact check your assertions that you were the sole author.  Because the facts will say otherwise.

    This’ll be a nice little footnote to your career.  At the very end of it (after you’re laughed out of SCOTUS…provided they ever hear your case), you did manage to get a law passed, albeit one as ineffectual as you’be been.  So again, congratulations you loser. 😛

  22. Erik says:

    "This is a huge victory for LAZY parents everywhere."

    Fixed that for you Jack.  No you don’t have to thank me.

    -Ultimately what will do in mankind is a person’s fear of their own freedom-

  23. PHX Corp says:

    out of 400 words, I need 7 words: I hope the Video Game law Fails

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  24. Kincyr says:

    70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere.

    nope, just the parents who no longer want any responsibilities. And not even that, it only moved up the ladder. Saying it’s a "huge victory" is akin to claiming you won a tournament right after making it to the second round. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  25. gamadaya says:

    lol, I thought the same thing. It’s not a victory for the parents because it doesn’t really affect them one way or the other. It’s definitely not a victory for JT (which is what he meant by "victory for the parents") because the retailers obviously don’t give enough of a shit about it to keep fighting.

    Wow, this man is like a child. This whole situation is like when you are arguing with a moron and then decide to concede the argument because you realize that it doesn’t really matter and you just want the moron to shut the hell up.


    Internet troll > internet paladin

  26. drees31 says:


    If I am reading the amendments correctly on of the items that would trigger the law is the same employee would have to sell an m rated game 3 times before this law would have effect on them
    I do not think there is a guarantee that it will pass in the senate they are running out of time and may or may not have time to address the issue at all.


  27. Shoehorn Oplenty says:

    I suppose when you have had your licence to practice law stripped from you due to unprofessional behaviour, you have to find something to do with your time… I mean, his wife is working and his kid is probably at school, there’s nothing to do around the house…

  28. Shoehorn Oplenty says:

    "70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere."

    How? I just don’t see how this helps or empowers parents in any capacity. Unless it’s trailer trash parents who use it as an excuse to sue for as much money as they can get. (Which is unlikely to succeed, given that the already neutered law has now has it’s teeth removed completely by the amendments.)

    "The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better."

    I agree. It better protects the retailers, ensuring that they will remain free from any legal action occuring from this non-issue!

    "Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law!"

    Make it law, it doesn’t matter. This is will not impact the video game industry or game retailers in any way, shape or form, EVER.

    I posted this question in the forums, can anyone tell me under what circumstances could a retailer actually be sued under this bill as it now stands, and what evidence would need to be presented to prove the case?

  29. Werrick says:

    Why is it a huge victory for parents? It’s a "nothing" bill as no retailer anywhere has ever, to my knowledge, advertised specifically that they don’t sell games to children under the age on the box. Who does that?

    Whatever… I have no response whatsoever to this, it’s a bit like when I’m forced to give my glass of juice to the 4 year old because she "… likes the red glass better!". Sure, here you go, I’ll just get another glass.

  30. SeanB says:

    no, if this passes it’s just going to close doors. Now retailers wont be able to put up signs saying "you cannot purchase this if your not 18", which means they don’t have to enforce it.

  31. hellfire7885 says:

    "70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere.  The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better. Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law!  "


    I find this hilarious.

    Not only has it been prove that Thompson doesn’t give half a piss about all those parents, but every time he’s prematurely declared victory like this, he lost a short time later.

    Not only that, but if it does pass, he will abuse it. I’d hate to see what he uses as a flt swatter….

  32. hellfire7885 says:

    Everyone knows as soon as this is passed JT will be patrolling Utah game retailers for infractions.

  33. M. Carusi says:

    "This is a huge victory for parents everywhere.  The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better. Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law!"

    Yep, and then the ESA will file suit and have it overturned!  Gotta love the political process.

    M. Carusi

    Capitol Gaming

  34. GoodRobotUs says:

    I’m not certain, in it’s currently massively neutered state that the ESA will even bother with this law, it’s been amended into a feelgood, unenforceable law, which is why the game retailers don’t oppose it in any way.

    But whoever said this isn’t Thompson’s bill any more is correct, I’d say there’s more wording in there from the AG’s office etc than Thompson’s original text 🙂

  35. SimonBob says:

    At this point, Jack kind of reminds me of a negative-universe Alan Shore.  He doesn’t care if he wins or loses in the Supreme Court, he just wants to stand in front of them and rail about stuff so it’ll all end up in the official transcripts.  Except unlike Alan, who used the opportunity to go after everything from women’s rights to gay marriage, Jack will be on about the tyranny of the Constitution and the First Amendment.  Too bad Boston Legal isn’t still on the air, they would’ve had a field day with him.

    The Mammon Industry

  36. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Sweet, the EMA is opposed, so there has got to be some people sending letters to State Senators telling them to say "no" to the bill.


  37. Conejo says:

    How about this, why don’t we just boycott Utah for a week?  everyone involved with gaming.

    their heads would spin when they saw how much in taxes they really earn.

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  38. IsoNeko says:

    70-2. Meh, he’s close enough.

    It makes me giggle though. JT’s parading around like a British Football fan, after beating an opposing team, going around screaming numbers in a drunken chanting slur.

  39. Adrian Lopez says:

    "GP has done an article talking to constitutional experts who say that this bill is indeed constitutional."

    Odd. I recall GP interviewing a legal expert who said the bill was likely unconstitutional, though that was before the amendments that turned it into an even more pointless bill.

  40. Kincyr says:

    read it again, SimonBob said "…the solution is still the same as it’s always been: don’t advertise that you won’t sell to minors."

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  41. sortableturnip says:

    "advertises that the person will not provide a good or service labeled with an age restriction or recommendation to a buyer subject to the age restriction or recommendation; and provides that good or service to a buyer subject to the age restriction or recommendation."

    Doesn’t say if the rating is voluntary or not, if the game has a age restriction or recommendation, it would fall under this law.

  42. hellfire7885 says:

    Not ot mention the likely constant claism that he and the eagle forum are setting up stings throughout the state to bust the retailers, though I doubt the eagle forum half cares about his "cause", they likely just want to drain money to prevent the state from helping people they don’t like.

  43. Neeneko says:

    That is the annoying part.

    This bill is comletely harmess (though a waste of taxpayer money), esp after that ‘as long as you train your employies to check id’ exemption.

    But it does mean that we will have to listen to JT boasting like a kid who has used the big-boy potty for the first time.  Only with less impact on the world.

  44. Sukasa says:

    I predict an appearance on Fox News when the bill is passed with JT talking about he is taking the fight to the game companies, being a christian martyr, and a plug about his book (which at the major book store I work part time at doesn’t even have it listed for sell).

  45. LAG - Law Abiding Gamer says:

    "The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better."

    It would appear that he thinks so…

    ***Homicide-free video gaming since 1972!***

  46. hellfire7885 says:

    Last time I was in a book store I  searched every last section several times and didn’t find one copy, then I asked the clerks about it and they were either like "By who?" or "We had to recycle then ,they weren’t selling".

    If I see a copy with a bargain sticker on it, I’m taking a picture and emailing it.

  47. Monte says:

     And for those who haven’t been keeping up with the events as they transpire… GP has done an article talking to constitutional experts who say that this bill is indeed constitutional; though it did have some other legal hurdles to get by which may or may not have been taken care of by the amendments… the bill is also not nearly as hard hitting as previous bills… all this is the reason why retailers seem to be backing down on opposition; no reason to fight something that is apparently constitutional and relatively toothless to them

  48. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Passed in the House, passed in the Senate, so far, so good. Oh, look, the Governor signed it! It is law! Praise God and all His… Huh? What’s this, now?


    Oh, no! The Supreme Court, those heathens, they declared it unconstitutional! Let them wait, they’ll be getting God’s judgment soon enough when I get my law license back!


    Yes, Jack. The above is exactly what you would say. Practice what you preach, grow up, and let the parents you claim to be fighting for take it from here.


  49. PHX Corp says:

    JT’s going behind the parents to make the children buy such M-rated games

    Watching JT on GP is just like watching an episode of Jerry springer only as funny as the fights

  50. DavCube says:

    Thompson, it’s not exactly a victory for parents when you’re working for taking away their right to choose what their child plays.

    Before you say ‘but they go behind the backs of the parents!’ no they don’t. Your vigilante (and therefore not provable sample size of one) "stings" don’t account for the entirety of the retail market. Sorry to break reality over your thick skull, but that’s the only thing that can get through to it.

  51. E. Zachary Knight says:

    And you expected them to? I wish the intent were more apparent than it really was. But this is the only way John Bruce could get a "constitutional" bill passed. Make it vague and broad. Of course that can also get it declared unconstitutional if you are not careful.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  52. CodeMonkey76 says:

    In my correspondence with my Utah leglislator (Lorrie Fowlke, R-Orem, UT) it seemed that most legislators don’t have a clue that this bill was written by Jack Thompson, who he is, or that this is targeting the video game industry.  Most see this as simply a ‘truth in advertising’ bill and don’t see any undertones in the language of the bill that are directed at the video game industry.

  53. SimonBob says:

    The ESRB is a voluntary system anyway.  It’d be up to the game producer to remove the rating, and they probably wouldn’t do it solely at the request of one state’s game sellers.

    Nope, the solution is still the same as it’s always been: don’t advertise that you won’t sell to minors.

    The Mammon Industry

  54. sortableturnip says:

    So the ESRB has the ratings removed from any game being shipped into Utah…problem solved!

  55. Zerodash says:

    "Rep. Susan Duckworth – commended Morley for making amendments and reminded the body of parental responsibility" 

    Looks like Jack can add Susan Duckworth to the conspiracy list.  Jack has NEVER advocated parental responsibility. 

  56. Leet Gamer Jargon says:

    Wow. I looked at the amendments and it seems like nothing’s changed. It’s quite humorous, knowing that this bill may actually help underaged gamers purchased adult-rated games in the long run.

    Go ahead, Utah. Pass the bill. We’ll see the effects soon enough.


    Game on, brothers and sisters.

  57. magic_taco says:

    2 for me…Maybe even 20, But seeing how i heard from ya that most of the utah area thompson was in is strictlly religous,And maybe he could have mysterious support, Maybe the self-indulged hypo’s from the eagle forum.

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