Sponsor of Failed Utah Game Bill is Happy with Compromise Solution

February 21, 2007 -

The sponsor of Utah's failed video game bill told the Salt Lake Tribune he's comfortable with a House committee's preference for a non-binding resolution. 

Rep. Scott Wyatt (R, left) was the sponsor of HB50, a measure written by controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson.

When it became clear that the bill would not pass, Wyatt agreed to co-sponsor HJR15, a resolution calling upon Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to monitor and support efforts to legislate violent game content in other states. Wyatt told the Tribune:

I'm OK with this... Once I took the bill, a variety of people came to me suggesting it was unconstitutional. When I presented it to the [House] judiciary committee last summer, I made a commitment I would not take it to the floor until I could fully address the issues raised.

 

I learned courts had reviewed similar bills in nine other states and found them all unconstitutional. HJR15 is a fair compromise... There just weren't the votes in committee. I don't even know if I would have voted for it, though I do support the concept.


A member of the ultra-conservative Utah Eagle Forum told the Tribune that lawmakers can expect to see a new video game bill introduced in 2008. Said Maryann Christensen, who lobbied for the bill:

If this is the best we can get, it's the best we can get. But we would have liked the state to have its own law rather than just supporting other states. We think it would be a law worth defending. But instead, we're saying, 'Let's just put our children in danger because we'd rather not spend the money.' That's a weak argument to me.


GP: For all GamePolitics coverage on the fascinating, occasionally bizarre situation regarding the Utah legislation, click here.


Comments

Whenever I hear stories like these, I can't help but think of the barrister's dream from The Hunting of the Snark.

"JT has been strangely quiet during all this. You’d think he wouldn’t be happy with this outcome as this doesn’t have any teeth, and knowing him he’d prefer to have something that would have the force of law behind it. His lack of a temper tantrum on this suprises me."

I think he quietly took his leave of the situation when it became clear to him that the Utah legislature wasn't willing to waste time and money fighting a near hopeless battle. That little things like precedent and constitutional concerns actually had a place in the decision making.

Alternatively, he could have decided that with the Eagle Forum involved, there was no need for him to be there for the "good fight" to be fought.

I commend Senator Wyatt for not caving into Jack Thompson and the crackpots at the Eagle Forum. It's nice to know that there is at least one politician who isn't willing to throw away precious tax payer dollars for a red harring.

"If this is the best we can get, it’s the best we can get. But we would have liked the state to have its own law rather than just supporting other states. We think it would be a law worth defending. But instead, we’re saying, ‘Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money.’ That’s a weak argument to me."

You know what's a weak argument? Let's waste money on a red harring because we are too lazy to do our jobs as parents and would rather have the goverment do it for us despite the fact that it's been ruled unconstitutional 9 times, that's a weak argument.

He has already scuttled off to cause more trouble, leaving others to clean up the mess. Rumour has it the UK is on his agenda...

JT has been strangely quiet during all this. You'd think he wouldn't be happy with this outcome as this doesn't have any teeth, and knowing him he'd prefer to have something that would have the force of law behind it. His lack of a temper tantrum on this suprises me.

The again, in his own twisted mind is does he consider this some sort of strange "victory"? Just like his seeming "victory" over 2 Live Crew (even though they still continued to make albums and their decline in popluarity was more due to shifitng preferences in rap more than anything else) or his "victory" in getting Howard Stern off terrestrial radio (even though JT was hardly responsible for that, as Howard left of his own accord more or less. And even then I seem to reacll an interview where JT said he wasn't even happy with him being on satellite)?

“‘Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money.’ That’s a weak argument to me.”

It's more like "let's not spend the money because this measure is unconstitutional and thus cannot pass muster." That's a pretty strong argument to me.

"‘Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money.’ That’s a weak argument to me."

Or you could...say...educate parents about the ratings system? There are many other things that are harmful to children out there, don't cry wolf.

@Zippy
I think you're misunderstanding Wyatt's position on things. Unlike so many politicians who either A) ignored the fact that similar bills were unconstitutional, or B) went ahead and did it anyway, Wyatt at least stopped and said "This is just a waste of money."
Yeah, he's not exactly on our side, but at least he's reasonable and willing to compromise.

"But instead, we’re saying, ‘Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money.’ That’s a weak argument to me."

What she apparently doesn't understand is the great difference between "spend" and "risk". Spending money assumes that we are definatly going to get our money's worth, and get what we want. Risking money however is more of a gamble, there is no sure thing, we could very easily waste all that money and come out with absolutly nothing. And all things considered, the risk in this case is incredibly high, so high that it should be sooner refered to a "waste" of money seeing as it's almost(i'm tossing them a bone here) definatly going to fail.

and hell we can take her comment one step furthar. As we all know thae studies used to argue how "dangerous" video games to children are either flawed, inconclusive, or made to look FAR worse then they actually are. Add this to studies that show us how often parents are involved in game purchases and the increasing voluntary enforcement by retailers, thus severly limiting how many children this law will actually have an impact on, and the supposed "danger" to children becomes rather insignificant.

All in all, the bill is a one with incredibly high risk venture for a problem which is actually a rather insignificant to begin with. Not exactly a bill i would call "worth defending"

I was going to say something, but...Cecil475 already said, pretty much what I was going to say.

Yeah, don't want to spend the money. That's the problem, isn't it? I mean, it's only be called unconstitutional nine other times. And is written by JT, who is perhaps one of the worst lawyers you could have. And it would almost certainly lose. Which then results in a fine of legal fees to the ESA.

Yeah, not spending enough of the taxpayers money on it instead of other, more reasonable issues (I dunno what, I'm from Michigan), that's the problem! Well then, just to make sure, let's spend all of the state's money on it! We'll make it bankrupt in the inevetable-failing fight to protect your children!

This is a pretty weak "compromise." It seems to me more like a "stalemate."

I compare it to Snidely Wiplash telling Dudley Do-Right he'll get him next time. Fortunately, Nell Fenwick is safe from marauding trains...until next week's episode.

""I learned courts had reviewed similar bills in nine other states and found them all unconstitutional. ""
not doing your job are you...next are you going to ban gays because they offend some?....
-----------------
""A member of the ultra-conservative Utah Eagle Forum told the Tribune that lawmakers can expect to see a new video game bill introduced in 2008. Said Maryann Christensen, who lobbied for the bill:""
only to have to shot down by the courts because you cant legislate media like that.
---------------
""If this is the best we can get, it’s the best we can get. But we would have liked the state to have its own law rather than just supporting other states. We think it would be a law worth defending. But instead, we’re saying, ‘Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money.’ That’s a weak argument to me.""

I am sorry you can not tie everyones balls to the wall because you don't understand that media is part of FREE SPEECH and thus you cant legislate it to protect your small minded brethren from life...but you can join with retailers to help parents understand that not all games are for kids.

"But instead, we’re saying, ‘Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money.’ That’s a weak argument to me."

There is no danger as long as your child is of sound mind, has been taught the difference between wrong and right, knows that video games are make-believe and is mature enough to deal with what he sees in a game.
Now if your child is crazy, through his personality ( like theColumbine killers), or from a previous traumatic experience (the Utah Mall Shooter), then there is danger.

It's horrific that parents would rather demonize my hobby, than draw attention to the teenage mental health and the importance of making sure that your child is normal and happy. Parental responsibility does not end with making sure your child is dressed and fed and in school. Parents have to talk to their kids, address their fears, insecurities or any kind of problems they have. If the Columbine killers' parents had perhaps paid more attention to their children and noticed how insane they were, perhaps it never would have happened.

But no, that would be much too difficult to do. Let's blame these new fangled "videos" that they play. We didn't have them in the old days, they must be to blame.

If these Conservative "culture warriors" (ugh) really cared about protecting children from teh evil games, they would accept the First Ammendment and then do something that is effective. Perhaps if they spent their time pushing a parent education initiative rather than wasting it trying to legislate morality.

(If this is the best we can get, it’s the best we can get. But we would have liked the state to have its own law rather than just supporting other states. We think it would be a law worth defending. But instead, we’re saying, ‘Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money.’ That’s a weak argument to me.)

I'm going to just assume that this is the same person that earlier said that the state should pay the Five hundred thousand dollar Legal fee's to the ESA in the attempt to save the children by having the state putting up bills they know will fail. I could be wrong but considering both comments came from the same organization I will continue.

So let's say they put the bill up. It fails and the state of Utah owes the ESA $500,000 in legal fees. (to Eagle Forum) So now what? The bill failed. you have no videogame bill. Just like it was before the bill got put up. The only diffrence now is that The ESA's lawyers are $500,000 richer and your state is $500,000 dollars poorer. Your state paid all that money and you didn't get what you wanted AND, It becomes state #10(?) to have a bill struck down.

Posting from home.

- Warren Lewis

Consumer responsibility is just as important as Corporate responsibility.

At least he listened to reason.

"Let’s just put our children in danger because we’d rather not spend the money."
It's questionable how much danger there is; most studies seem to suggest that there's none whatsoever.


"That’s a weak argument to me."

Yours sounds pretty weak too, Ma'am.

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