Despite the fact that he will be leaving public office in 90 days, Rep. David Hogue (left) isn't giving up on video game legislation.
As reported by the Deseret News, the lame-duck Republican is seeking to revive failed video game legislation in the Utah House. His bill, HB257 S01, is of the "games as porn" variety. It will be given a hearing before the legislature's Judiciary Interim Committee today.
The Hogue bill passed the House overwhelmingly early this year, but died in the Senate. It would need to be re-introduced in the next legislative session, and will require a sponsor, since Hogue will no longer be a House member. Today's hearing is an apparent effort to develop support for the bill in 2007.
"I have a lot of confidence in that this bill will pass," Hogue told the Deseret News. He believes it will stand up to constitutional challenge. As previously reported on GP, however, First Amendment scholars have not been kind to Hogue's measure.
"What the other states have had a problem with," Hogue explained, "was actually trying to keep the sale of those things off the shelf completely. We've identified these materials as being harmful to minors. I think it can be proved in court."
"My feeling" he continued, "is that the industry has not done a good job at all of being able to police this themselves. The thing that bothers me is I've got a 13-year-old granddaughter right now that can walk into a Blockbuster and pick these things up."
GP has heard from a Utah-based game developer who plans to speak against the bill. Miami attorney Jack Thompson claimed last week that he would be testifying today. However, this morning he advised GP via e-mail, "I had to cancel my trip yesterday because of a pressing litigation matter. I have provided written material to the committee, including the APA study which points out causation, not correlation..." (see yesterday's GP piece on the APA report)
Past GamePolitics coverage of the Hogue bill can be found here. Hogue did not respond to several GP requests for comment.