We caught the webcast just as it was beginning. What follows is essentially a live blogging of today's hearing...
The Utah House has just begun deliberations on HB 353, the video game/movie bill originally crafted by disbarred attorney Jack Thompson. The first order of business was to pass amendments to the measure.
With amendments passed the discussion on the bill has begun. Rep. Michael Morley, bill sponsor, is now speaking. Morley can be seen in the screenshot at left, taken moments ago from the webcast of the hearing. View it live.
So far, the legislators who have spoken are uniformly behind the measure, which appears to enjoy bi-partisan support. Speaking on behalf of the bill:
- Rep. Brian King (D)
- Rep. Sheryl Allen (R) - Allen discussed the growing importance of Utah's video game industry
- Rep. Kraig Powell (R)
- Rep. Steven Mascaro (R) - wanted clarification on how bill language affects retailers
- Rep. Susan Duckworth (D) - commended Morley for making amendments and reminded the body of parental responsibility
Rep. Morley, summarizing, said that "retailers" are no longer opposed to the bill, which indicates that the amendments may have watered down the potential impact of HB 353. Morley said that some movie owners also have dropped their opposition.
Voting now occurring... HB 353 passes 70-2. The measure will now move to the Utah Senate for consideration.
Thompson has just e-mailed a comment:
70-2. This is a huge victory for parents everywhere. The bill, by the amendments we fashioned, is better. Now we go on to the Senate, where I expect passage, with the Governor then likely to sign it into law!
UPDATE: The amendments link has been updated to incorporate the most recent changes (Feb. 27).
UPDATE 2: We have learned that the Entertainment Merchants Association, which represents video game retailers, remains opposed to the bill. Morley's comment concerning retailers dropping their opposition was likely referring to the Utah retailers' trade group.