No, that's not GamePolitics' daily take from readers clicking on those little Amazon ads. The figure actually represents the amount the State of Illinois must reimburse the video game industry for legal fees incurred fighting Gov. Rod Blagojevich's failed video game law, ruled unconstitutional by a Federal District Court judge last December.
"Judge Kennelly's rulings send two irrefutable messages," said ESA boss Doug Lowenstein. "Not only are efforts to ban the sale of violent video games clearly unconstitutional, they are a waste of taxpayer dollars. The sad fact is that the State of Illinois knew this law was unconstitutional from the beginning. Taxpayers have a right to know that over half a million of their dollars and countless government hours were thrown away in this fruitless effort."
An Illinois legislator agreed.
"I am very disappointed that the state of Illinois has to pay these fees for what was such a clearly unconstitutional law from the start," said State Senator John Cullerton, like Gov. Blagojevich, a Democrat. "When I spoke against the law in Springfield, I predicted we would have to pay legal fees. The amount ordered paid to the plaintiffs... doesn't even count the substantial fees the state will have to pay its own lawyers."
By the way, don't get the idea that Sen. Cullerton is simply abandoning a sinking ship. As GamePolitics reported in May of 2005, Cullerton was always opposed to the video games bill, saying, ""This isn't about a law. This is about polling and press conferences."