The Louisiana Senate will apparently discuss a Jack Thompson-authored video game bill in a hearing scheduled for later this morning.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs has SB 152 on its agenda for today.
The measure was proposed by Sen. A.G. Crowe (R) and is similar to the Thompson bill which recently passed the Utah legislature before being vetoed by Gov. Jon Huntsman. Like the Utah bill, SB 152 would hold companies that advertise age restrictions on products guilty of a deceptive trade practice if the product is then sold to someone underage.
While video games are not specified in the measure, they were clearly Thompson's intended target in crafting the legislation.
A review of SB 152 indicates that it goes a step beyond the Utah bill by also holding retailers guilty of a deceptive trade practice for selling a product labeled with an age restriction (for instance, an M-rated game) to someone underage. This section seems to be very close to the type of content-based sales restriction which federal courts have consistently found unconstitutional.
In addition, the bill requires retailers to check the I.D. of buyers and to post signage indicating that I.D. will be checked.
GamePolitics has left messages for Sen. Crowe to inquire about the bill. So far, he has not returned our calls. We asked Thompson last night whether he would be testifying on behalf of SB 152 today. He told us it was uncertain whether the hearing would go forward today. However, we reached a staffer in Crowe's office this morning who told us the hearing would take place.
UPDATE: The committe is webcasting its hearing now. Click here for the committee list. Click on the TV icon to the right of the Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs to watch the hearing. The committe is now discussing SB 29. As I write this the Thompson bill is fifth in line for consideration.
UPDATE 2: We had to wait until the very end of the committee hearing to learn that Sen. Crowe has deferred the SB 152 hearing until next week. Join us then...