May 26th, 2006

Surprise!! Game Bill Sponsors Running for Higher Office

My wife always tells me, "GP, don't be so cynical."

Easier said than done, honey. When you're wading through the muck of the political arena day-in and day-out, it's tough to avoid looking at things with a slightly jaundiced eye. And, yes, I make her call me GP.

So why am I a cynic? Here are a couple of reasons:

In Oklahoma, Rep. Fred Morgan (R, seen at left) has succeeded in getting his video game legislation, HB3004, passed by both the House and Senate. It is now on its way to Gov. Brad Henry who seems likely to sign the bill into law.

As for Morgan, due to Oklahoma's term limits, he's currently staring at the end of his career in the State House. As part of his plan to reduce unemployment (his own), Morgan is running for Congress in his Oklahoma City district. He faces a July 25th primary. His campaign website, naturally, touts the video game bill.

And then there's Minnesota, where Rep. Jeff Johnson (R) has rammed through his own video game bill. Instead of the more traditional "Let the buyer beware" approach, let's call Johnson's measure "Let the buyer be scared," since the Assistant Majority Leader has turned the tables on typical video game legislation by making underage game consumers - not retailers - subject to civil fines for attempting to buy M-rated games like Halo 2 or The Elder Scrolls IV Oblivion.

Did we mention that Johnson is running for Attorney General of Minnesota? His campaign site trumpets Johnson's testimony on video game violence before a U.S. Senate Judiciary sub-committee hearing chaired by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) in late March.

Morgan and Johnson aren't the only ones, of course. In California, Assembly Speaker pro Tem Leland Yee (D) faces a June primary in his bid for the State Senate. And of course, Sen. Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential aspirations are well known.

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