There is good news out of Pennsylvania today, as the commonwealth will apparently not pursue video game legislation.
A working group assigned by the Pennsylvania legislature to study the video game violence issue has strongly recommended that no laws regarding video game content should be enacted.
The Task Force on Violent Interactive Video Games began meeting in November, 2007 and has just released its findings. The group emphatically recommends that the Pennsylvania General Assembly not pursue video game content legislation. Indeed, the language used by Task Force leaves no room for doubt as to its view:
The General Assembly must avoid enacting restrictive legislation similar to those that have been invalidated by the Federal courts.
The Task Force also called for more research into the effects of games on young people and suggested that legislators fund a program to educate consumers about video game issues.
Among those who testified before the Task Force are some familiar names:
- Patricia Vance, ESRB
- Cheryl Olson and Lawrence Kutner, authors of Grand Theft Childhood
- Dr. Patrick Markey, Villanova University
Task force members included Markey, as well as a pair of well-known First Amendment lawyers, Clay Calvert and Robert Richards. Representatives from the ESA, MPAA and RIAA also participated. Asked about his impressions of the task force and its work, Markey told GamePolitics:
The task force members had extremely different backgrounds -- experts on First Amendment issues, social science, clinical psychology and members of the game industry, law enforcement, and parents. I was the only member who was a social scientist. My main job was to discuss violent video game research (pros and cons).
Although there were disagreements at times, I think the members of the task force worked together extremely well and came to a fairly "common sense" conclusion.
GP: The 69-page report is a document you will likely want to have a copy of. It does a nice job of summarizing the research and legislative issues surrounding violent games and also has a handy listing of the federal court challenges to various state laws. For your copy, click here.