NY Video Game Bill Moving Towards Passage

June 24, 2008 -

The New York State Assembly unanimously passed a video game bill yesterday. A similar measure is now under consideration in the State Senate.

A11717 was proposed by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol (left), a Brooklyn Democrat. If signed into law it would require new console systems to be equipped with parental controls, would create a 16-member governmental advisory council and would mandate that ESRB ratings be displayed on game packaging.

The proposed advisory council would examine the potential impact of violent media, make recommendations regarding the ESRB rating system, and establish "a parent-teacher violence awareness program to identify and appropriately assist students who  may  have  a  propensity toward violence."

The Senate version is sponsored by Republican Andrew Lanza. Given that the New York legislative calendar wraps up at the close of business today, it's likely that the Senate will pass the bill. If not, it may be revived in a special session.

Should the Senate bill join the Assembly version in passage, the measure will then proceed to New York Gov. David Paterson (D). If the Guv signs the bill into law, it is scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2010. Of course, if the Governor signs the bill, there is little doubt that the video game industry will file a federal lawsuit to block the law from taking effect on constitutional grounds.

GamePolitics readers may recall that New York seemed destined to adopt a video game law in 2007 but the measure was ultimately derailed by bitter political infighting between then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Senate Republicans.

The ESA, which represents the interests of US video game publishers, has urged New York-based members of its Video Game Voters Network to contact their elected officials in opposition to the bill.


Comments

Re: Redundant?

Requiring that the ESRB show ratings BY LAW would also give them the power to force the ESRB to do other things, like play through every game in full.  That, of course, would be the kind of thing to grind videogame development and release to a halt.  As for requiring parental controls, they do already have it, and the 16 member council thing will do absolutely jack shit, save sit around on their ass and say "Videogames are bad".

Re: Redundant?

I'm not sure they could make the ESRB change their policies in terms of how much of the game they play, not from a state law. Perhaps on the federal level they could, but would probably have to specify that as a new rule. I doubt those endorsing this bill are even aware that the ESRB doesn't play game all the way through, they don't strike me as informed. If they were, they'd know parental controls already exist and that packaging already contains ratings.

 
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