Louisiana governor signs game bill

[UPDATE]: Thompson-penned law banning the sale of obscenely violent games to minors goes into effect; EMA confirms plans to take the matter to court.

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Louisiana's HB1381, a measure restricting the sale of some violent games to minors, was signed into law by Democratic governor Kathleen Blanco yesterday, one of the governor's staffers told GameSpot. The law went into effect immediately upon being signed.

HB1381 was authored by representative Roy Burrell (D-District 2) with the help of controversial lawyer Jack Thompson. It was approved by the state House of Representatives last month and the Senate earlier this month, passing both without a single vote against it.

According to the text of the law, it is now illegal to sell, rent, or lease a game to a minor if it meets the following three conditions:

(1) The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the video or computer game, taken as a whole, appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence.
(2) The game depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors.
(3) The game, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

The bill was based on obscenity laws that have previously withstood legal challenges. Now that it is law, violators can be fined between $100 and $2,000, imprisoned for up to a year, or both.

[UPDATE]: As expected, a legal challenge to the bill is on the way. Entertainment Merchants Association president Bo Andersen told GameSpot that the EMA and the Entertainment Software Association would both be opposing the law in court.

"We are filing an action in federal court in Baton Rouge today, which will include an application for a temporary restraining order, and after that, a preliminary injunction," Andersen said. "But there is every reason for retailers in Louisiana to give their best effort in complying with the law until we obtain that restraining order, which we're confident will be very shortly."

While the EMA is directing its retailers to obey the law, it's leaving it up to them to decide what games are covered.

"The law gives them extremely poor guidelines, and it will be very difficult for retailers to apply the provisions of the law," Andersen said. "The effect will be that they will apply them too stringently beyond what a jury would actually find would be defined under the law, and thus their expression would be chilled."

In a press release trumpeting the bill's passage into law, Thompson explained why he believes a legal challenge here would fail.

"This law is constitutional, as it addresses all of the complaints raised by federal courts which have struck down other state video game laws," Thompson wrote. "It is unique in its approach, as it borrows a time-tested three-prong approach approved by the US Supreme Court in obscenity cases. Further, the legislative history supporting this bill includes much of the scientific evidence that has ended the debate as to whether these games are harmful to minors. The other states which have passed these laws were sloppy in not making the legislative record as complete as it could have been with this hard scientific evidence."

Discussion

183 comments
Opalance
Opalance

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Benderill0
Benderill0

Well, i live in New Orleans and please don't associate this woman with anyone in the state, we all hate her and the only reason she's doing this is for money and to look pretty for president bush. and yes, she should be using this money for fixing up our levees but just to tell you all, levees, like rome, arn't built in a day so it'll be quite a while before you hear about any positive progress. but yes, she is an ugly **** and i want to use her body to help stotp the flood waters.

hart704
hart704

I have tons of M rated games. Come and arrest me too! Come on! I'm beggin' ya, Thompson! Make me famous!

Scorpion16
Scorpion16

Wow this frankly shows how screwed up the Louisiana state goverment truely is. You would think that they would be trying to help the victims of the Katrina disaster. But this also the same governor who allowed 200 million dollars in emergency money go missing durring that crisis. As far I'm concerned she should be impeached for her handling of that crisis. And it's even more disgusting that she's more worried about this crap than helping people live normal lives again.

petcali
petcali

so much for constitutional rights. The Politicians in the U.S. seem to pass laws for the greater good. Heads up people there goes your beer and pizza next. The funniest thing is most of these politicos are obscene to the Nth degree.

AidenPryde3025
AidenPryde3025

In response to another poster. It wasn't a conservative that signed it into law in Louisiana, it was a Democrat. On Thompson, well he's always been a crusader, trying to change the world. Rap, Movies, Television, he's challenged them all and lost. He'll lose here too. I think the government has no place in telling people what their kids should and shouldn't be watching. The only thing the government should be concerned with in terms of media is education. The government should educate parents about how to raise their children and what is appropriate for them to watch far more than they do now. -Aiden

Smoke2Much
Smoke2Much

Just wait till these minors reach the voting age! You thing that the govener will still have a job ?

myDboys
myDboys

Som times leeders in our government wont muny.So thay will do what it takes to git it .It is going to git wers.

azieser
azieser

So now the younger kids in the malls will just go around until they find someone old enough to buy the game for them anyway! Having been in the gaming industry for over 5 years now I can tell you that most of the parents that come into the stores will just nod their heads when we ask if it is ok for 7 year old Billy (Yes that

icedbasite
icedbasite

all those stupid politicians anyway? why do we actually listen to them?

icedbasite
icedbasite

don't care anymore, I live in belgium (europe) and here, none of these stupid laws about so called "violent games" don't actually exist (at least no one cares about them so thats the same) but if there was a law like that i'd just go to another country and buy it and if not, i'd download it and i guess the rest of the world thinks the same so... btw: if boy thompson wants to ban violence, then america would be back in the stone age (no tv, no radio, no internet, no books, no papers, ...) so he's only doing it for the fame and the money but whatever, i'm 15 now and i had all the gta's ever made since gta 2 and no one ever said to me what the +16 sign meant so i kept on playing...

evilross
evilross

Shouldn't the Gov. of a backward state like LA be more interested in fixing the myrid of social and economic problems they have, instead of making video game laws.... New Orleans is a mess, I know I used to live there, and im not talking about the storm damage... the whole state is pretty much a mess for that matter... But forget that.... lets protect all little children..... jeez...

RVD991
RVD991

Thank God I dont live in Louisiana I live in Chicago,IL, but like i said when Oklahoma govornor passed the game bill the govornor should be focused on getting drug dealers,and gangs off the streets away from the children but adding something for Louisiana govorner she should be get the state prepared for the hurricane season and gettin New Orleans repaired than focus on any kind of bill at the moment

Stabby
Stabby

Japan and West Europe must be a load of happy gamers since their governments don't ban everything...

DelayStation
DelayStation

they sure got pissy about getting hit with that hurricane, those jerks.

NightRain
NightRain

Sucks to be you in that states... Or any states for that matter..

julian79
julian79

Ha ,Ha glad i don t stay in the states. Well att least they got the poor guidelines rule from above. I might have nothing good to say about politicians but this just prooves a piont don't u think :- /

kasack29
kasack29

well all i can say is that im glad i was too young to vote when she was up for election...

reddevilyi
reddevilyi

I don't get why everyone is saying parents can't decide what their kids play under this Bill. All it does it prevent the sale of violent games to minors, not make violent video games some sort of illegal contraband. All little Jimmy hasto do is ask his parents to buy the video game for him, and then they can decide if it is appropriate for him. And what is that? Parents deciding what is right for their child.

trovello
trovello

I personally find it ironic that parents complain about their kids playing violent games when they bought the game or gave the kid $$ to get the game. I wonder if any of these politicians have children (god forbid they spawn more of them) that play violent games. I'd laugh so freaking hard.

i_love_my_ds
i_love_my_ds

sucks for you in louisiana. your governor is a real retard

gameplayer2105
gameplayer2105

*katrina comes through and blows cities away* we should start by eliminating the REAL problem: video games!" grr these people are retarted. she needs to focus on giving the homeless a home and feeding the starving (and maybe fixing her face while shes at it)j

rodrigo_br
rodrigo_br

is every governor ugly(and stupid)???

nappan
nappan

Am I the only person who doesn't care what happens to Lousiana? I doubt it's much of a market now, and after another hurricane season or two it might not even be a functional state. It's a pretty sure bet that with these escalating hurricane seasons New Orleans will be history soon enough, and with it and the lack of Lousiana's viability as an oil port if it's ports are trashed... that pretty much closes the book on the state's infrastructure and with any luck Lousiana will depopulate. New Orleans aside it's just a load of hicks and swamps anyhow... and frankly there are too many hicks and too few swamps. I say, let em pass all the laws they want, it's all a moot point since it takes ELECTRICITY to play a VIDEOGAME. On the bright side you'll be able to fish for gulf shrimp on the new Arkansas coast =)

cpbrown1
cpbrown1

This is why Women shouldn't even be allowed to vote much less run for any office.

King_Alex92
King_Alex92

Thats right, minors should not play violent games. It is inappropriate for their age. Peace out P.S. the guy who said adult books are sold to kids tell him that they are educational books.

CloudStrifeFFO7
CloudStrifeFFO7

They are worrying about stupid little things when they should be thinking about other stuff like hurricanes and other things instead of this... I

PsichoDM
PsichoDM

nobody knows where louisiana is anyway, so it might even disappear and nobody would notice.

final33
final33

lucky for me cause i already older then 18 to play any game i want

backflipkingds
backflipkingds

She need to shut up. She just mad cause she can't beat me at splinter Cell: Choas Thoery.

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

I see nothing wrong with this bill.

sasuke55
sasuke55

****SIGH**** I have to agree with the person earlier I don't want to see minors like 14 and under playing GTA but its up to the parents to decide that. I used to work at EB GAMES and this lady brought her 12 year old son in to buy leisure suit Larry!!!! I was like wow man this lady is nuts but that's her son she can do whatever. But this was like last year I worked there for like 2 yrs but even as far as back then we Id for things like GTA Mortal Kombats those type of games or we would be like does your mom/dad know you getting this game? If they lied we wouldn't let them buy there again because bottom line is no one wants an upset parent all over them about a game we policed ourselves.

midn8t
midn8t

goverment shouldnt be envolled in family affiras period senes when is it goverments right, to put presonal safty over presonal freedom secoundly, senes when should govermetn have any say as to how to raise or not to raise our kids. if anything they should put to gethere some health care units to help promot family structor. to help parents and kids come to gethere. u know wahts funny about this law is taht you could get one year in jail if you give a minor a video game that state thinks is to violnet for them, but yet in most states if you kill someone you will get off after year. senes when dose a video game offense have same implecited as a murder. i already sent my say to hiller clinton till people. whats going on is that bush, was able to ride family values type speechs into white house so now you have alll the radicals come out of hte wood work thinking there going to get more votes if they do things to help family values in the house hold. example miss clinton. till people start sending them messages and emails saying why they think this is stupida there not going to stop. beucase they think this is what majority wants becuase majority of messges there getting from every day people is saying good work keep it up. there not hearing from people who dont want it.

KFrog
KFrog

I can't help but think that as jacked up as that state is after the hurricanes that their Governor would have far more important and pressing issues to deal with than violent video games. What in the world is she thinking? This woman is clueless. She needs to focus on jobs, getting industry moving again, housing and getting citizens back on their feet. This Bill is a waste of time. Focus on getting little Billy an education so he can read and write and be a functional member of society and not a drain on it. It's the job of parents to teach their kids good values to live and work by not the State.

Truthofme
Truthofme

I wonder if anyone has yet to realize that maybe to prevent these kind of games into children that will take them the wrong way should start with educating the parents. They are in a way treating the "symptom" not the cause. Which would eliminate most of these laws entirely. I still love how the world continues to blame inanimate objects as the cause of the violence problems in the world instead of taking responsability or their actions.

nintendorocks
nintendorocks

This bills solve nothing. Ok, now the child can't go down to Gamestop by himself and get GTA. "Mom, can you go get me GTA?" "Sure, Billy." Ok, done. Waste of time and effort. Video games don't kill. Parents who let their mentally disturbed child play GTA kill.

ajkloft
ajkloft

geez...here comes the pokemon re-take over of the world...it'll be all that 17 and unders will be able to play :p

zlr06
zlr06

OMG, i hate living here, more bad news, I think they should kill this law and make one that says you have to have a certain GPA to play violent videogames, stupid people are the only ones who can say a game made them do somthing.

LoserMike
LoserMike

You'd think the governor of Louisiana would have better things to do such as: fix New Orleans. I could understand a tax on videogames to help rebuild the city but this? If I were governor of Louisiana I would: 1.) Make the state Hurricane Proof 2.) Make new Levees not cheap hackjobs 3.) Encourage the growth of economy, ex: give taxbreaks to businesses willing to operate in Louisiana 4.) Fix the huge proverty discrepancy between wealthy whites and poor blacks. 5.) Convince the Federal government that aid is still needed to help many of those who lost their homes. (The Fed is stopping aid by this august)

zavano
zavano

There is a book that came out not to long ago called something like everything Bad For you Is Good. With this book it talks about how video games benifit people who play them. Also to fine companies for selling M games to minors is a fine idea as long as it is applied to movies. As far as violence is concern that kids are becoming more violent due to video games just look at the crime rate its been dropping. These people don't know what they are talking about all they are trying to do is win votes.

stevy_G
stevy_G

Can't really see how this will stand up, point 3 not only applies to some games, but a great many films and songs, so why aren't they being cited?

LordGamer0001
LordGamer0001

maybe thompson will take a break from trying to ruin videogames for a while after this little victory.

gt4freak1985
gt4freak1985

it is not the governemnt to decide what is acceptable and what is not. This is our choice, and she is a moron, They have more to worry about than the bs theory of video game violence. I am so sick of this, they are slowly trying to tell us what to watch, what to listen to, trying to ban weapons, this is a modern way of what hilter did people. He took the guns away, turned the government into a dictatorship and then what happpened. I am not thats gonna happen here, but we need to take a stand. This is ridicolous. I grew up watching r rated movies, playing m games, 1 out of 500,000 kids is messed up enough to shoot someone cause of games as he says, how is that an epidiemic? You tell me, when 400,000 of 500,000 either smoke, drink, and or sexually active? Now playing games too much is more of a problem than video game violence. Man these baby boomers are morons and have really screwed up.

roachmonster
roachmonster

I live in Louisiana and live in one of the most devastated areas in the state. Seeing, living, and attending school their, I know first hand that she needs to focus her attention elsewhere.... like, i dont know, how trying to get people a place to live, fixing the broken school system, and getting the economy running again.