Following a lively debate, the Utah State Senate has passed HB 353 by a 25-4 margin.
The bill, originally drafted by disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson, was amended in the Utah Senate prior to this evening’s vote.
Because the bill was amended by the Senate, it now goes back to the Utah House which must approve the changes. That step must be completed by midnight when the current legislative session ends.
Sen. Margaret Dayton (R), the measure’s sponsor in the Senate, is seen at left speaking about HB 353 during the just-completed debate.
During the debate, Sen. Scott McCoy (D) called the bill a square peg in a round hole. While saying that he personally found Grand Theft Auto disgusting, McCoy also feared that the measure is an inappropriate use of Utah’s Truth in Advertising statute and that it will be subject to challenge on constitutional grounds.
Speaking in support of HB 353 was Sen. Chris Buttars (R). The controversial Republican cited the well-known case of Devin Moore, a GTA player who killed two police officers and a dispatcher in 2003. Before being removed from the case by an Alabama judge, Jack Thompson was involved in a wrongful death lawsuit against Rockstar, Sony, Wal-Mart and GameStop based on Moore’s rampage.
Assuming that the House approves the Senate amendment, which seems likely, the measure will proceed to Gov. Jon Huntsman. The Governor may sign it into law or veto the measure.