Do violent games equate with pornography?
They will if Utah Rep. David Hogue (R) has his way. Yesterday, according to a story in the Provo Daily Herald, a Utah House committee passed Hogue's bill, HB 0257 by a 7-2 vote. As reported previously on GamePolitics, the bill initially failed a January 28th vote.
The proposed legislation would make it a felony to knowingly exhibit or sell violent video games to minors,
"It's more than a message bill," Hogue told the newspaper. "This is a bill that identifies the effects that different media has on our children."
While the bill would apply to retailers, it could also affect "perpetrators trying to influence a minor."
The bill defines "inappropriate violence" as games with carnage that offends prevailing community standards and lacks "serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors."
The ESA and ACLU were quick to react.
"This bill is not needed. More importantly, the bill will be challenged as unconstitutional," said the ESA's Scott Sabey. "To plug violence into an obscenity statute won't work."
Eagle Forum Director Gayle Ruzicka spoke out in favor of the bill, saying, "If we have to go all the way to the Supreme Court, then let's take it to the Supreme Court."
For more background, see GP coverage of Hogue's bill from January 25th and January 28th.
GP: We thought this bill was dead and buried, but Hogue apparently made enough changes to satifsy Utah conservatives. With the "games as porn" rhetoric getting actual legislative consideration, Utah's HB 257 immediately becomes the leading political threat to the video game industry so far this year.