Source: Game Biz in for a Fight Over Jack Thompson's Utah Legislation

February 6, 2009 -

Despite a decade-long string of legal victories against video game legislation, the game industry appears headed for a fierce political battle in Utah.

As GamePolitics reported earlier this week, State Rep. Mike Morley (R) will soon introduce a new bill written by longtime game biz nemesis Jack Thompson. Having apparently abandoned past efforts to have violent games declared harmful to minors (an approach that he swore was constitutional), Thompson's new legislative angle would put retailers at risk of false advertising charges if they sell mature-themed games or films to minors.

While there is a tendency in the game community to automatically dismiss any legal theory proposed by the permanently disbarred Thompson, the reality is that Utah could prove to be a battleground state for the video game industry. A lobbyist who is familiar with media content issues explained to GP that Utah's ultra-conservative political landscape offers Thompson a window of opportunity:

This year the industry may face a tougher fight in Utah even with Attorney General Mark Shurtleff's help. The reason is that the conservative wing of the [Utah] Republican Party deposed the moderate Republican Senate President, John Valentine, and replaced him with the conservative Senate President Michael Waddoups. 


[For example,] one of Waddoups most recent victories was defeating the Governor's effort to modernize Utah's antiquated liquor laws. Waddoups defeated the bill because he opposed "kids being able to see adults pour drinks."  Well, if he thinks seeing a drink poured in a restaurant is going to corrupt a kid, what will he think about your average video game?


Moreover, [Jack Thompson's] new approach targeting false advertising could encourage and energize legislators to try yet again to pass a [video game] law that would survive judicial review.  

In reality, [Thompson's proposal] is unlikely to withstand judicial review, as it would chill protected speech. However, legislators may be willing to roll the dice one more time. It is not their money.



ESA Made Campaign Donation to Utah Attorney General

February 5, 2009 -

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff (R), whose office is currently reviewing video game legislation drafted by disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson, received a campaign contribution from the video game industry in 2008, according to public records obtained by GamePolitics.

The Entertainment Software Association, which represents the interests of U.S. video game publishers, made a $3,000 donation to Shurtleff in May of 2008. The popular, moderate Republican would go on to win an unprecedented third term in November's election.

At the same time, the ESA also made lesser contributions to a pair of state senators, Ross Romero (D) and John Valentine (R).

For his part, Shurtleff has been no stranger to video game issues in recent years.

- In 2005 he called for a boycott on Eidos's cops-and-robbers shooter 25 to Life.

- In 2006 he appeared in a public service announcement advocating the ESRB rating system.

- In 2007 he advised the Utah Legislature to delay consideration of an earlier Jack Thompson-authored bill while a federal court considered the legality of a similar measure in Oklahoma. Afterward, Thompson called for Shurtleff's impeachment. The Oklahoma law was eventually ruled unconstitutional.

UPDATE: In the original version of this article, Sen. Ross Romero was mistakenly listed as a Republican. He is a Democrat and that correction has been made.


Utah Legislator Will Sponsor Jack Thompson Video Game Bill

February 3, 2009 -

The Salt Lake Tribune has confirmed that a Republican state legislator will introduce a video game bill crafted by Jack Thompson.

Trib reporter Glen Warchol tracked the story down this afternoon at the State Capitol in Salt Lake City. As GamePolitics recently predicted, Gayle Ruzicka, a Thompson ally and head of the ultra-conservative Utah Eagle Forum, found a legislator to propose the disbarred attorney's bill.

Warchol writes:

Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka is remote controlling Rep. Mike Morley [left] to introduce yet another bill to regulate those cop-killing video games...

Morley is picking up where other lawmakers have failed. (Yes, I checked and his pupils appear to be dilating properly...)  Florida-based wingnut crusader and disbarred lawyer Jack Thompson apparently has roughed out the bill for Gayle...

I talked to Attorney General Mark Shurtleff [who] says he has been told the bill will be completely different from earlier versions, but "They keep changing the language." He says the evidence that Thompson keeps quoting hasn't stood up in court. Looks like Thompson will have to call for Shurtleff's impeachment again.

GP: In 2007 Thompson demanded the impeachment of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff after the A.G. suggested that a video game bill proposed by the anti-game activist was unconstitutional.


Utah Newspaper Gives Jack Thompson Ink to Discuss His Mystery Bill

February 3, 2009 -

In an op-ed for today's Deseret News, disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson writes about the Utah video game legislation that he has been promising for several weeks.

Here's the bill in Utah: It doesn't define what content is "harmful to minors," so we avoid the phony First Amendment arguments Hollywood loves to make. The bill simply states: If you promise the public you don't sell adult-rated entertainment to kids, then you had better be telling the truth, because if a parent catches you selling this stuff to his or her kids, then you're guilty of fraud under the Truth in Advertising Law.


The Entertainment Software Association bragged this week that it spread $4.2 million around to "lobby" politicians at the federal level, with more spread around to state politicians...

Despite Thompson's assertion, we don't remember the tight-lipped ESA mentioning its lobbying expenditures at all, much less "bragging" about them. The $4.2 million lobbying figure which Thompson refers to was tracked down by Gamasutra via a public records search and subsequently detailed in a recent news report.

Since we've been unable to locate Thompson's measure on the website of the Utah legislature, GamePolitics asked Thompson to identify the bill and its sponsor. He declined, saying only:

I have a sponsor and a bill, and [the video game] industry is in trouble.

Layton Shumway, who pens a video game column for the Deseret News, suggests that HB14 might be the Thompson bill, but that seems unlikely. In a comment to his op-ed, Thompson offers what could be a carefully-worded hint on the future of the mysterious bill:

I look forward to returning to Utah, possibly this week, to testify for the passage of this bill. I met with state government officials last month in Salt Lake, and there is great enthusiasm for this approach...

Of course, returning to Utah "possibly this week" also means possibly not this week, or possiby not even during the current legislative session.

From Thompson's description, his bill seems aimed at movies as much as video games. Indeed, he cites poor R-rating enforcement by movie theaters but fails to mention the video game industry's significant, FTC-documented progress at stopping M-rated sales to minors.

We note also that Thompson is identified by the Deseret News as "a former practicing attorney," which does not seem to fully convey his permanently disbarred status to readers of the Utah newspaper. 


BYU Study: Video Games Are Bad For You In So Many Ways

January 23, 2009 -

A study published today in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence maintains that video games - including the non-violent kind - are linked to a variety of negative findings among college students.

According to the Deseret News, the study, conducted by a team of faculty and students at Utah's Brigham Young University, concludes that:

  • the more the students play video games, the worse their relationships are with friends and parents (although this effect is modest)
  • those who play video games daily smoke pot twice as much as other players and three times more than those who never play
  • young women who play often have lower self-esteem

BYU prof Laura Walker, the lead author of the study, told the newspaper:

Everything we found associated with video games came out negative... [But] I don't want parents to go out and yank all video games. It's like TV. We have to choose what's good and bad and practice moderation.

Student Alex Jensen, who participated in the research project, added:

I assumed violent video games would be related to lower relationship quality with friends and family. I didn't expect regular video games — nonviolent video game use — would be correlated to lower relationship quality...

An abstract posted on the website of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence offers some information on the methodology of the BYU study:

Participants included 813 undergraduate students (500 young women, 313 young men, M age = 20...) who were mainly European American (79%), unmarried (100%) and living outside their parents’ home (90%).

GP: It is quite interesting that this study would appear in conservative Utah at a time when a renewed effort to legislate video games is underway there.


Live Blog: Jack Thompson Tells Utah Conservative Group of Plans to Legislate Games

January 17, 2009 -

A live blog of Jack Thompson's Saturday morning keynote address to the ultra-conservative Utah Eagle Forum has been published at Mormon Bloggers.

Judging by the post, Thompson delivered his standard anti-video game rap. The disbarred attorney apparently also laid out his latest strategy to legislate games:

The impact of aggressive, violent, and pornographic videos simply can’t be denied. Jack cited case after case in which people like a young Devin, immersed in things like Theft in the City, went home and shot his parents, saying to the police,  something to this effect: “Everybody has to die, just like in video games.”


The man who killed on Trolley Square, said Jack Thompson, was apparently training on Theft in the City or something similar.  One part of that violent video illustrates an individual going to a high point in a mall and shooting in random people he doesn’t know.  This training ground has made victims in Columbine, in Miami, in  Paduka [sic], and needs to stop here.


Jack Thompson– attorney, crusader in fighting the entertainment media’s marketing of violent materials to minors, and  author of Out of Harm’s Way–is supportive of an upcoming a bill, which if drafted properly and put in the hopper here in Utah will stop the sale of these games to minors.


Currently, the Fraud and Deceptive Trade Pact Act says that if you sell a product and misrepresent what it does or is, it is simply fraudulent.  Walmart, Target, Best Buy assert in corporate sites, statements, and press releases that they will not sell a mature-rated violent to a minor.  Age verification software, though available through Ideology and other programs, are dismissed by these companies.  This is something we can enforce.


If you’d like to know more, check with Eagle Forum.  If you are informed and are willing to make a call, please let your legislators know that this bill should be passed.

GP: Couple of points here... The blogger characterizes Thompson as an attorney, but as GamePolitics readers know, he was disbarred for life by the Florida Supreme Court in October. As we pointed out last week, the agenda for the Utah Eagle Forum event also lists him as an attorney. At this time it is unknown whether the audience for Thompson's keynote address was told of his permanently disbarred status. If so, the blogger makes no reference to it.

Clearly unfamiliar with video game issues, the live blogger also gets a few of the details wrong. But that's not unexpected as Thompson was apparently going on about several cases in which he blames video games for violent crimes. The "Devin" mentioned by the blogger, for example, would be Devin Moore, who killed two police officers and a dispatcher in Alabama, not his parents.

Most amusingly, "Theft in the City" would be Grand Theft Auto, of course.

UPDATE: In relation to Thompson's scheme to legislate games in Utah, the question now becomes whether the disbarred attorney has any state legislators on board. We would suspect that Gayle Ruzicka, the politically influential president of the Utah Eagle Forum and an ally of Thompson's, will be able to persuade someone in the legislature to introduce Thompson's bill.

Could the sponsor end up being one of three Utah legislators who also spoke at the UEF convention? Those would be the controversial Sen. Chris Buttars (R) as well as Reps. Carl Wimmer (R) and Christopher Herrod (R).

UPDATE 2: In its coverage of the UEF convention, the Deseret News makes no mention of the proposed video game legislation, but quotes Thompson's verbal shot at President-elect Barack Obama:

Outside of social issues, conventioneers and speakers alike expressed concern about the upcoming term of President-elect Barack Obama.


"On Jan. 20 we are entering what I believe will be a time of peril for this country," said speaker Jack Thompson. "And that is Barack Obama."

UPDATE 3: Thompson e-mailed GP to assert that he made his disbarment known to the UEF convention audience:

I told everyone there I was disbarred, and said in my first speech that I was a 'recovering attorney.'


Jack Thompson Working on New Game Legislation in Utah?

January 10, 2009 -

GamePolitics received a press release from disbarred Miami attorney Jack Thompson this morning in which he claimed to be "working with" state officials in Utah to pass video game legislation.

Regarding the supposed legislation, Thompson writes:

Thompson will be in Utah this coming week to work with Utah state officials to pass a new state law that will stop, dead in its tracks, the continuing marketing and sale of “Mature” video games to kids. Utah’s new approach to this problem will be constitutional and it will become a model for other states to follow.

A bit of digging shows that Thompson is scheduled to be in Utah next Saturday, where he will be the keynote speaker at the annual convention of the ultra-conservative Utah Eagle Forum. Indeed, the group appears to be a significant part of Thompson's ongoing connection to Utah. A convention agenda mentions that Thompson:

...will be talking about the research proving exposure to graphic violence leads to violent children and this year's legislation to prevent it.

We also note that, despite his disbarment, Thompson remains listed as an attorney in the program.

Via e-mail, we asked Thompson if he was talking to any specific legislators about a game bill and whether he could elaborate on what he meant by "working with." So far, we have received no response.

Still, given the local clout wielded in Utah by the UEF and its president, Gayle Ruzicka, we wouldn't doubt that some type of Thompson-authored legislation will surface there. Indeed, four state legislators are also scheduled to serve as speakers at the UEF convention.

To be sure, Thompson has quite a history with Utah:

In 2006, then-State Rep. David Hogue (R) tried - and failed - to pass a bill equating violent video games with pornography. Language used by Hogue during legislative hearings mimicked Thompson's frequent comments on game violence. Gayle Ruzicka spoke out in favor of the bill.

In 2007, Rep. Scott Wyatt's Thompson-authored bill failed as well, but not before Thompson called for the impeachment of Utah's popular Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. Shurtleff's offense? He had the temerity to offer a legal opinion that Thompson's bill was unconstitutional.

In 2008, only weeks after a referee recommended to the Florida Supreme Court that Thompson be disbarred for life, the controversial anti-game violence campaigner was honored with a Freedom Award at the annual America's Freedom Festival in Provo. Given the circumstances, we found his selection a curious choice.


Suspect Blames Fiery Motorcycle Chase on Video Games

August 22, 2008 -

Utah's KSL-5 reports that a 27-year-old man who led state police on a 100 MPH chase before causing a fiery accident said that such risky driving had always worked for him in video games.

Daniel Savino survived the crash with just a bad case of road rash but now faces a laundry list of criminal charges:

As for motive, Savino told troopers this was his own video game adventure.


"I don't know whether he was trying to act out a scene in a video game or what he was trying to do, but he said it always worked for him in video games," Roden said.


Editorial: Jack Thompson a Curious Choice for Freedom Award

July 3, 2008 -

Jack Thompson is a hero.

At least, that's the word from America's Freedom Festival, an event taking place in Provo, Utah this week. As reported by the Deseret News:

America's Freedom Festival at Provo honored four individuals with 2008 Freedom Awards Wednesday night... The honorees... personified some or all of the festival's four traditional values of family, freedom, God and country...


A lawyer dedicated to protecting children from violence, obscenity and pornography in the media, Jack Thompson was honored especially for his defense and support of families.


Thompson... said that while his life has been filled with persecution and ridicule, he would go back and do it all over again, with even more fervor than before.

Now, Utah County, where the festival takes place, is an extremely conservative corner of the United States. So it is perhaps understandable that organizers there value Thompson's conservative Christian agenda. That's their call.

However, to consider Thompson only on his values crusade ignores a troubling list of negatives that stretches from Orem to Salt Lake City. Consider that this "American hero":

  • has been recommended for a 10-year disbarment by the Florida Bar
  • has been judged guilty of 27 ethical offenses by a Florida judge, who is sending her recommendation to the Florida Supreme Court
  • the 27 offenses include things like: "Knowingly making a false statement", "Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation" and " Engaging in conduct in connection with the practice of law that is prejudicial to the administration of justice"
  • may no longer submit filings to the Florida Supreme Court, in part because he included porn pictures in a motion (and NOT in a pornography case)
  • included gay porn pictures in a federal court filing (also not a pornography case)
  • received a cautionary visit from the U.S. Marshals following a federal court filing in which he wrote "...enemy combatants at Guantanamo are to get more due process from federal judges than what I am to have. I guess my "mistake" was not killing 3000 people to make my point..."
  • called for the impeachment of Utah's Republican Attorney General when the AG suggested that a video game bill written by Thompson would be unconstitutional

These items are strictly a matter of record, and do not include Thompson's strident cultural rhetoric (with which one may or may not agree) or his penchant for sheer vitriol. Moreover, Thompson himself has written that he expects to be disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court.

There seem to be two possibilities here. One is that the selection committee did not conduct due diligence on its nominee. The other is that they just didn't care. Perhaps the committee was aware of Thompson's issues but chose to believe that they are part of some vast cultural conspiracy against him waged by liberals, the video game industry, the Florida Bar, Florida Supreme Court, US District Court, gays, shock radio, the Republican Blank-Rome law firm, various judges, the Alabama Bar, etc. 

But at some point the idea of a conspiracy that large becomes silly. What's happening to Thompson now is more like a judicial consensus on the man's behavior.

How did America's Freedom Festival fail to see that?

GP: We've made several attempts in recent weeks to get an explanation from the committee as to why Thompson was chosen for the award, but got little more than the fact that he was nominated and ultimately selected. That lack of openness is especially troubling in light of the fact Utah County's government is the sponsor of the award event (i.e. - the taxpayers footed the bill for this award).

More local coverage in the Provo Herald-Extra...


Constituent Slams Congressman Over Video Game Law

June 13, 2008 -

As GamePolitics has previously reported, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) is co-sponsor of HR 5990, the Video Games Rating Enforcement Act.

The measure, currently before Congress, would require game retailers to check the ID of M-rated game buyers.

In today's Salt Lake Tribune, a letter written by an apparent constituent refers to the Congressman as "Silent Jim" and mocks the introduction of the video game bill:

My biggest disappointment in this campaign cycle has been the silence of Jim Matheson. His silence is curious and maddening, especially given the bold results of how his district voted for Barack Obama in the primary. Even if he had supported Hillary, at least it's a stand. 


How is Matheson going to have any respect in the Democratic caucus if he continues to act in this way? Oh, I know - maybe he should sponsor a frivolous and unconstitutional video game bill like H.R.5990. That should do it... 



Jack Thompson: American Hero?

June 9, 2008 -

Is controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson a freedom fighter?

While the Florida Bar argued last week that the anti-game activist should be disbarred for a minimum of ten years, Thompson is scheduled to be honored at America's Freedom Festival on July 2nd in Provo, Utah. While information is sketchy, the web page for the Freedom Awards describes them as intended: honor individuals who have espoused the cause of freedom throughout the world.

In light of his current legal difficulties, Thompson is an interesting choice, to say the least. His selection could potentially stir up some local controversy in Utah, as well. In 2007 Thompson called for the indictment of the state's Republican Attorney General, Mark Shurtleff, over Shurtleff's recommendation that a Thompson-authored video game law then under consideration in the legislature was unconstitutional.

GamePolitics has made three attempts in recent weeks to contact event organizers in order to determine who submitted Thompson for the award and on what basis. Although we have yet to receive a response, we know that our e-mail was viewed by chairperson Vicki Garbutt since she forwarded a copy to Thompson on May 28th, inquiring about our "agenda." Thompson forwarded the e-mail back to us the following day with the warning, "Careful, Dennis."

The awards dinner is sponsored by Utah County, described as "the most Republican county in the most Republican state in the United States."

In the past, Garbutt has explained the Freedom Award as follows:

It's what gets at the heart of what we talk about with freedom — celebrating the individuals who sacrifice for their own freedom and the freedom of others.

Thompson has forwarded a copy of what appears to be his page from the event program. However, it offers few specifics regarding his selection.

UPDATE: I should point out that it's not my intent to frame this story as any type of commentary on Republicans. Thompson has certainly had his issues with Republicans in Florida and elsewhere (as I noted, he was ridiculously harsh in his criticism of Utah's A.G. Shurtleff, a Republican). 


Once High-Profile, Utah's Video Game Legislative Effort Fades to Black

March 5, 2007 -

Not with a bang, but a whimper...

T.S. Eliot wasn't writing about the ending to Utah's recent efforts to legislate video games, but he could have been. If you haven't been following the Utah situation - perhaps "circus" is a more apt description - by all means, check out GamePolitics' coverage of the failed legislation.

The short version is that HB50, a measure equating games with pornography, was blocked in committee when the state's attorney general raised concerns over its constitutionality. Rep. Scott Wyatt (left), a Republican, sponsored the bill.

As a compromise, a non-binding resolution was drafted which gutted the original bill's enforcement provisions, replacing them with a directive to the A.G. to provide support to other states involved in litigation over game violence statutes.

Even that watered-down solution appears to have failed, however. GP notes that the compromise resolution, HR15, has been quietly moved from committee to the Utah House file for defeated measures.


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.
19 comments | Read more

Utah Video Game Bill Fades to a Resolution, Slams "Sordid Progeny" of Violent Games

February 9, 2007 -

As expected, the Utah House of Representatives has dropped a Jack Thompson-authored video game bill over constitutional concerns.

The Deseret News reports that Rep. Scott Wyatt, (R, left) sponsor of the failed legislation, will now propose a resolution which calls upon Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to provide support to other states which may become involved in legal battles over game legislation. Such support could include the filing of amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs.

If the resolution, HJR15, is passed as expected, a copy will be sent to every member of Utah's congressional delegation as well as the attorneys general of the other 49 states. Check out some language from the resolution:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Legislature of the state of Utah calls upon the Utah Attorney General to monitor the ongoing development of these laws throughout the nation, both in courts and in legislative halls, with the end design of having Utah's voice heard in the fight against overly violent video games and their sordid progeny.
29 comments | Read more

Utah House Committee Puts Brakes on Video Game Bill

January 27, 2007 -

It looks like game over for HB50, Rep. Scott Wyatt's proposed video game legislation.

The Public Utilities and Technology Committee of the Utah House of Representatives voted 7-2 to place the bill on hold, thus blocking it from consideration by the full House.

As reported by the Deseret News, Rep. Kay McIff proposed a compromise solution in which, instead of HB50, a resolution would affirm the elected officials' concerns over protecting children from video game violence without creating any legal restrictions. The resolution would also direct Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff to lend support to other states which are involved in court challenges to video game legislation. Such support could take the form of amicus curiae, or "friend of the court" briefs. Said McIff:

I am concerned when all the legal experts, including our own attorney general as well as the sponsor, tell us that the bill is likely to fail in a constitutional challenge. One where we cannot control the amount we spend, because we spend our side and then we are potentially obliged to spend the legal costs of the other side.
39 comments | Read more

Utah Newspaper Awards Video Game Bill Sponsor a "Buffalo Chip"

January 27, 2007 -

The Provo Daily Herald has unkind words for Utah Rep. Scott Wyatt, sponsor of a video game bill blocked yesterday by a House committee. The paper's editorial staff apparently awards "beehives" and "buffalo chips" for what it deems worthy of kudos or condemnation. Here's what the Daily Herald had to say about Rep. Wyatt:

Buffalo Chip to Rep. Scott Wyatt for trying to pull the plug on video games for kids. Other states have already been there and done that -- and have been slapped down by the courts. House Bill 50 would add violent video games to the list of materials deemed harmful to minors, and thus bar them from being sold to young buyers. The Logan Republican is ignoring warnings from Attorney General Mark Shurtleff that similar laws in eight states have been found unconstitutional. Wyatt's colleagues need to tell him that it's "game over" for this bill before a judge does.

Now if GP could just figure out what the "beehive" represents...


Utah A.G. Tells Legislature to Wait For Oklahoma Ruling

January 18, 2007 -

Yesterday GamePolitics reported that video game legislation under consideration in Utah had been shelved while its sponsor, Rep. Scott Wyatt, researches constitutional concerns.

Today's Provo Daily Herald reports that Wyatt had earlier received a binder from the office of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff containing federal court rulings which struck down such laws in a number of states around the country.

Former Rep. David Hogue (left), who sponsored the original, failed version of the bill in 2006, told the newspaper:

This is one of my great passions. There has been a lot of opposition from the industry, and the Attorney General is twisting (Wyatt's) arm.
18 comments | Read more

In Utah, Sponsor Pulls Video Game Bill From Committee Agenda

January 17, 2007 -

A video game bill originally crafted by controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson was pulled from committee consideration yesterday by its sponsor.

Rep. Scott Wyatt (R) told the Logan Herald Journal that he won't proceed with the bill until constitutional concerns about the measure, HB50, are put to rest:

It will either make it into law or be immediately struck down. If it doesn’t see the light of day, it will be my choice.

The Utah bill is similar to Louisiana's Thompson-authored legislation which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court in November. A Boston city official also told GamePolitics recently that pending Massachusetts legislation is modeled after the Utah bill.

A Tuesday reading of the bill before the Utah House Public Technology and Utilities Committee was canceled after Wyatt voluntarily removed HB50 from the agenda. He plans to meet with the office of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff in coming days to discuss the legal merits of the bill. Shurtleff is already on record as believing that the bill is likely to fail a constitutional challenge.

26 comments | Read more

Utah Legislature Will Consider Video Game Bill

January 10, 2007 -

Video game legislation which failed to pass the Utah legislature in 2006 appears on its way to a second chance in 2007.

As reported last year by GamePolitics, HB257, sponsored by former Rep. David Hogue (R) passed Utah's House overwhelmingly, but was never voted on by the Senate. Controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson had a hand in drafting the bill.

Hogue, who made a failed bid for election as a state senator, is now out of politics. His bill, however, lives on after being revived by Rep. Scott Wyatt (R, seen at left).

Now known as HB50, the bill was turned over yesterday to the Chief Clerk of the Utah House by general counsel. The measure seeks to define video game violence as "harmful to minors." Language in the bill defines "inappropriate violence" in video games as that which:

  • appeals to the morbid interest of minors in violence

  • is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable material for minors; and

  • does not have serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

All in all, the Utah language is quite similar to that which GamePolitics reported on in yesterday's exclusive story on Massachusetts' upcoming bill.

75 comments | Read more

Utah Committee Passes Revived Games-as-Porn Bill Despite Constitutional Concerns

November 16, 2006 -

It's a bill that failed to clear the Utah legislature earlier this year. 

It's a bill that Utah's Attorney General has said will likely fail if challenged in court.

It's a bill that is quite similar to the Jack Thompson-drafted Louisiana video game bill, currently blocked by a federal judge.

Despite these concerns, a committee of the Utah legislature yesterday approved a bill designed to prevent minors from accessing violent video games. As reported by the Deseret News, passage by the Judiciary Interim Committee allows the measure to be placed on the 2007 legislative calendar.

The bill, which would define violent games as "harmful to minors" in the same manner as pornography, was sponsored earlier this year by lame duck Republican David Hogue. The bill passed the Utah House overwhelmingly in February but was never considered by the State Senate. Seemingly a dead issue, the legislation was revived recently by Rep. Scott Wyatt (R).

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Will Target Australia sell the next GTA game upon its release?:

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Andrew EisenAh TERA. I made a video about TERA censorship. One of my more popular ones. - 8:52pm
Goth_SkunkI've been playing TERA all day. Just took a break to barbecue some chicken. :3 And Andrew: I'm using Cabal to suggest a group of people secretly united in some private views or interests within a community.07/31/2015 - 8:50pm
Andrew EisenI'd love to but I'm at work. But once I get home... I'm going to work out for a while. But after THAT... I'm going to shower. Then eat. Then prep tomorrow's meals. And THEN play video games! YEAH!!!07/31/2015 - 8:38pm
Big Permlol, ya'll are still going back and forth? Take a break and play some video games07/31/2015 - 8:37pm
Andrew EisenGoth - Are you using "cabal" to describe a group of writers or to suggest they all worked together in secret to publish those articles?07/31/2015 - 8:30pm
Andrew EisenMatt - That doesn't disprove the general premise of the various articles as that's not what they're about. Unless, again, he's talking about a different batch of articles.07/31/2015 - 8:28pm
Goth_SkunkThe difference between one voice being offensive and a cabal being offensive.07/31/2015 - 8:22pm
MechaCrashFunny how "you're offended, so what" flips into "we're offended, retract everything and apologize."07/31/2015 - 8:18pm
MattsworknameIts not the only argument he points out ,its just one of them07/31/2015 - 8:06pm
Mattsworknameidea that Gamers as the articel puts it, the "White male sterotype are dead, essentially was compltely false07/31/2015 - 8:03pm
MattsworknameThe video actually shows that the shaw study actually disproves the Premise of the artices by showing that the "Gamer" dentity, has no actual meaning to thsoe who use it other then "I play games", its not connected to race, gender, or orientation. So the07/31/2015 - 8:01pm
Andrew EisenWith the exception of a brief mention in Golding's Tumbr post. Even so, he's talking about gamer identity, not desire for diversity in gaming.07/31/2015 - 7:50pm
Andrew EisenI'm not calling his examination of the Shaw study into question. I haven't read the study nor seen his video. All I'm saying is that it has nothing to do with the Gamers Are Dead articles I've been referencing for the last year.07/31/2015 - 7:49pm
MattsworknameSome times sargon just goes off on tangents but in this case he was pretty direct and went through teh research in detail, did the whole first video about the shaw study itself07/31/2015 - 7:45pm
Andrew EisenWell, unless it's disingenuous twaddle but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.07/31/2015 - 7:42pm
Andrew EisenGotta be. The argument you describe makes no sense otherwise.07/31/2015 - 7:40pm
MattsworknameThat is a possibility, they looked like offical articles but its possible they are different from the articles you mentoin07/31/2015 - 7:28pm
Andrew EisenNot unless he's referring to a completely different set of Gamers Are Dead articles.07/31/2015 - 7:19pm
MattsworknameIT is possibel the articles aren't readily visable or no longer show up on the sites diretly, as over time they might have been shuffled around to get them outta teh spot lights07/31/2015 - 7:18pm
MattsworknameThe video proves otherwise andrew, the links to shaws research are in the articles themselves07/31/2015 - 7:17pm

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