Louisiana Senate unanimously passes Thompson bill

Antigame measure written by vocal antigame advocate now just one step away from becoming law; Gov. Kathleen Blanco expected to sign.

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Last Friday, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed a bill restricting game sales into law. Though it was immediately challenged in court by the Entertainment Software Association, its rather mild terms didn't exactly sow panic among gamers. The law would fine minors who attempted to buy Mature- and Adults Only-rated games $25 and ask game retailers post a sign warning of the fine in their stores.

Late yesterday, another game bill moved one step closer to law in Louisiana. However, the measure has stirred up a much larger controversy in the industry for two reasons: its draconian terms, which are based on previously upheld obscenity laws, and its coauthor, vociferous antigame activist Jack Thompson.

Written by Representative Roy Burrell (D-District 2) and Thompson, HB1381 would make it illegal to sell, rent, or lease a game to a minor if it met three conditions. First, if the "average person" would think "appeals to the minor's morbid interest in violence." Second, if it "depicts violence in a manner patently offensive to prevailing standards." Lastly, a game would only qualify if it "lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors." Violators could be fined between $100 and $2,000 and sentenced to up to 12 months in a state prison.

After being approved by a key committee last week, HB1381 was passed last night in a 35-0 vote in the Louisiana State Senate, according to watchdog site GamePolitics.com. The bill will now be presented to Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco, who made national headlines during the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina last fall. The Governor is expected to sign the bill, given the unanimous vote and the recent linking of games and teenage murder suspects in the Louisiana media. If that happens, expect an ESA legal filing to follow shortly.

Discussion

256 comments
Dessan89
Dessan89

hart704 wrote: "I have tons of M rated games. Come and arrest me too! Come on! I'm beggin' ya, Thompson! Make me famous!" ditto

hart704
hart704

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

the_greenzero
the_greenzero

wait this is gonna affect me NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

thisusernameisn
thisusernameisn

Dammit! Just when I thought Louisiana couldn't get any worse. It's odd that they are paying almost no attention to things like education (we're usually dead last) and are more concerned about establishing an over-censored society. Lol at least my parents really don't care about the games I get. And they usually aren't the "libertarian" type. That PWNES Jack Thompson.

JOHN1486
JOHN1486

let them make it illegal, then watch them complain when it make those game more disirable to the very ones their trying to keep them from. does anyone remember when they started putting parent adviseries on CD's. I'm twenty eight, and I know kids get access to things they are not supposed to. It comes down to education not oppresion

darklink676
darklink676

Wow,this has gone from crazy to just plain sad :(

Quetzalcoatl_88
Quetzalcoatl_88

frankly, I just don't see this passing, c'mon, even the courts aren't going to be stupid enough to pass it. I honestly don't believe that "normal" people count as non-gamers, since ALOT of "normal" people play videogames anyway. Besides, the gaming industry here is kicking the crap out of the music and movie industry, so if anything, YOU might not be considered normal today if you haven't played a videogame in your life. Next thing you know, jackie boy will probably state that videogames are un-american, and all the right-wing extremists will be kissing his butt. For those who think that just because he is democrat means that ALL democrats are like him, proves the point that both sides are capable of stupidity. lastly, I don't know how the talk of "illegal" immigration came to this thread in the first place, but I find it funny that we had this issue for a LONG time, with no one caring about it, and yet it just got MASSIVE attention when all this terrorism talk started appearing, which proves that people are using terrorism as an excuse to demonize my people even further. On a side note, immigrants DO pay taxes, when they get money deducted from their paychecks, which means that our government doesn't actually care where taxes are coming from as long as they get it. Don't get me wrong, I think that immigration should be controlled, but that doesn't mean that we should let xenophobia and fear control how we do it.

hiimbob3
hiimbob3

i do hate jack, but i have some advice for the brave ppl in louissiana, don't all games have some ARTISTIC value? ppl cover themselves in paint and run into a canvas and call it art. and surely everyone buys halo 2 to make smiley faces with the tank.

dougcl1979
dougcl1979

Just another step to our future dictatorship in America

Sonic43090
Sonic43090

It's not like many stores even carry AO games anyway and I'm pretty damn sure that evertime I've tried to buy games over my rating limits I was told I was not allowed to buy it buy the cashier. Jack Thompson: Grade-A Dumbass.

gfunk01
gfunk01

For all the idiots complaining about a new repression and that the law is anti-free speech, study politics and the politicians. Thompson is one of many Democrats pushing for video game regulation, along with Liberman and Clinton. Video game regulation has not been a big agenda issue for conservatives and the religious right, but more for the more moderate leaning Dems. Second, the law is acceptable as regulation since the Supreme Court has ruled such practices as constitutional. What the law is doing is applying the Supreme Court decisions concerning porn to video games, which is legitimate. The third part of the bill is known as the LAPS test as an abbreviation, which was devised by the Court I believe during the Clinton administration. Furthermore, it does not prevent these games from being sold, only to minors, most of which get the games from their parents, making the issue void. Many stores, such as EB and Blockbuster, have already enacted policies that follow similar standards. And one more thing, other countries in the world have even worse restrictions, such as Germany and Austrialia, which have even banned games. Games are also being increasingly bought over the internet, which takes the issue out of state hands.

sentay0
sentay0

DOWN WITH THE GOVERNMENT!!!!! Ok, I admit that's a little bit drastic so instead uuuuhhhhhmmmmm....................... DOWN WITH JACK THOMPSON!!!!

link15000
link15000

note to politions: THARE ARE 3000 THINGS YOU NEED TO BE WORRYING ABOUT INSTED OF VIDEO GAMES. I swear, thay are going to attack the Wii's controller when the Wii comes out.

maverick21311
maverick21311

My fellow gamers. I to believe that this is an outrageous violation of the first amendment by a man who is mis guided in trying to tackle a serious problem that problem is Juvenile violence. I think this action needs to be fought and defeated by using the politicans own game against them. But calling for this man's murder just plays into his hands. What we need to do ix come out and denouce these acts of violence and show by our actions and words that we are not a lunatic fringe. What they are doing is what they did with prohibion in the 30s. We need to show people that it is not the games that cause these acts but a few unstable down right evil people who hide behind games as the cause rather that take responsiblity for their actions. They claim that the games made them do it to get a sympathy and a lighter sentence. This is where we have to fight. We can not allow these people to use this to get a lighter sentence. We also as a country have got to STOP electing and reelecting these politicians that abuse our freedoms like this. Please for the sake of america's future stop reelecting Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and all the other Democrat and Republicans that care more about their position than their constituents.

buzzguy
buzzguy

Whatever. This will affect my adult game-playing life in no-way. I kind of feel for you mature kids and teens out there who might have trouble buying games in the future. I guess you could always cross the border into Mexico or Canada to get the next Resident Evil!

Dinghy_Dog
Dinghy_Dog

Video games don't make me want to kill people. Jack Thompson does.

Blazer88
Blazer88

Since it only effects kids,..I don't care since I don't feel like they should be playing games like GTA anyways.

landedeagle365
landedeagle365

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Cronaroth
Cronaroth

wow-the business gets in trouble for selling to minors-you arent supposed to do that anyways-for once-im not perturbed by Jack Thompson (I still hate him tho), since this law makes MUCH more sense than the Oklahoma one

reaver12345
reaver12345

i dnt see why this is needed when i want to buy a M game my dad or mom has to be with me and the guy reads off why its rated M and asks um if i can get this..

WhitePenguin
WhitePenguin

you would think that lousiana would concintrate more on rebuilding and helping new orleans than caring about jack "gay" thompson and his nazi ways

jj4
jj4

Is he dead yet?

XGMan
XGMan

To answer the question posed by Chubbums: "Why get mad at Jack Thompson?" While Mr. Thompson's desire to prevent violent video games from getting into the hands of minors is commendable, his approach is fundamentally flawed. It has been ruled time and time again that video games are a protected form of artistic expression under the 1st amendment. Mr. Thompson's attempts to regulate video game sales to minors, or anyone else, is there for unconstitutional. This is the reason why gamers should be angry with Mr. Thompson. Mr. Thompson has singled out video games as the black sheep of the entertainment industry. Recently Mr. Thompson aided police in a murder investigation, by suggesting the police check for violent video games in a suspect's house. The suspect happens to be a minor. Was it suggested that they also check for violent movies, or literature? From the information I have seen, No. I wonder why this is. I say in closing to my fellow gamers. Do we have reason to dislike Jack Thompson. Without a doubt. But think before you speak. Those of you who would threaten Mr. Thompson with violence are perhaps even more ignorant then he is.

BigRell486
BigRell486

I see a lot of people talk about freedom of speech. But honestly, what does that have to do with children buying games. Freedom of speech simply implies that developers have to right to create any type of game they choose that doesn't mean that it gives the right to all people to view it. Children can't just walk up and see a rated R movie or buy porn and no one yells about freedom of speech. An "M" rated game is equal to an "R" rated movie. There is a difference between the freedom of expression and purchasing items. Someday people will put some thought behind their comments; someday.

soulknight63133
soulknight63133

Go after the parents! They have { or should} the most direct impact on teens and children. If their not something is terribly wrong with the PARENT.

BladeCrow762
BladeCrow762

Jack Thompson is just a radical conservative attempting to make the world a better place by making it exactly how only he and other radical conservatives want it to be. it's bull****. anyway the responsibility should be on the dumb f*** parents who let their young kids buy these games in the first place. parents should keep track of what their kids buy, or else they are ignorant and uncaring. we don't need laws for this kind of thing. we need America's parents to start being good parents for a change.

zackstra
zackstra

There already is something for m-rated games. When anybody buys one you usually have to give a birthdate, so I do not see why we need the new law. It is just like R-rated movies. It is up to the parents. I work in a place that sells games and the parents usually just grab and go for their children.

preacherman
preacherman

Jack Thompson may be somewhat misguided but I don't see a problem with the law. The law wouldn't be necessary if parents would do their job. There need to be rules. You have to 17 to see an R-rated movie, unless you are accompanied by an adult, you get carded when you buy alcohol or tobacco, why not regulate the sell of unfit games to minors. It is a known fact that children copy what they hear and see whether it be reality or fantasy. Would you want your kid cussing you out because they copied what they saw in some video game or movie. I live in Louisiana and I will gladly back any bill that would regulate the sell of certain video games to underage kids. If you are so against regulations, let's try letting minors go buy alcohol so they get drunk and get behind the wheel and kill innocent people. Why have rules??? Is that what some of you honestly think? It would be chaos without rules and regulation. Personally I would put a regulation like what is on movies. Don't sell M-rated or T-rated games to any child under the age guideline unless and adult is with them. Parents just need to do their job and raise their kids and not let TV, movies, and video games do it for them.

Oneguy229
Oneguy229

Next it will be a full background check on anyone who trys to buy a game. Oh no I feel like knocking out some hookers in grand theft auto gotta go!

Sundart
Sundart

Hey, what are the "prevailing standards"? These three criteria are so ridiculous. I mean, that could rule out Deer Hunter, right? First, they can't pass bills b/c of unconstitutionality due to the fact that they are overly-specific and now Thompson's trying to get a bill passed so vague it makes Bill Clinton's sex-affair denials sound clear.

zackstra
zackstra

I live in louisiana and we have been on the top of the worst lists. Now we have officially made the top of another. Down with Thompson.

hirushubi2
hirushubi2

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

Delta_BITR
Delta_BITR

Why do politicians waste their time with bills like this? What about Medicare? Social Security? I mean, come on, these are just video games that we are talking about. Contrary to popular belief, a recent study found that they ARE NOT REAL. Get over it, Thompson.

Star_Ship_Troop
Star_Ship_Troop

Oh come on! Just because we are home to the Murder Captial must they trust us all as insane people? :| Doesnt affect me.. But Jeez.. I wish Jack Thompson would take a long walk off a short cliff. -.- I say we push him off the cliff. Whos with me?!

mcsteve61
mcsteve61

this has future lawsuit written all over it. and hey, it started with comics in the '30s and '40s, then rock n roll in the '50s and '60s, before running into porn in the '70s and '80s. now its video games. just make it ilegal to sell to minors, fine the businesses, and move on. do we really have to hit up the kids for money. gimme a break.

DrKill09
DrKill09

I get it! Let's trust an INSANE man. Yeah, THAT's a good idea! After that, let's play on the train tracks when the train is coming.

StillWingless
StillWingless

there's too much interpretation there that's left to the individual. i mean, it's nice, the government parenting our children for us and all... but if we leave these things vague and dependent largely upon the people, it has the capability--no, the very high likeliness--to get out of hand. perhaps mr. thompson doesn't understand the scope of what a such-worded bill could do. it's likely that this bible belt that i live in will all do the same thing, state by state. parents need more accountability for their children. that's the heart of the matter. why can't there be a bill that puts greater stress and consequence on that point instead?

bringon22
bringon22

there is no f***** proof that video games cause violence, ill tell u what does cause violence its these f***** anit-game politicans

Lev_Arris
Lev_Arris

The only way JT is going to be happy with our world is when he is dead.

Invicturion
Invicturion

Well well well.. my view of the usa is confirmed again (political and legal system that is) and i thought the politictians over here in Norway where dumbasses.. ^^ I hereby invite all the american gamers to leave and resettle everywhere else than Lousiana.. :D oh and btw that "no one shots somebody in the head unless they are gamers or a hitman" qoute.. wtf? so i guess that Washington sniper muhammed or what ever was a gamer then huh? ;) and btw (again) get rid of all your guns and you wont have that problem.. :P we play the EXACT same games over here.. NEVER been a case of someone doing this crazy stuff cos we dont got guns.. and we not scared of the whole world.. (personaly i find gamers to mostly (regardless of country of origin) to be some of the most level headed and smartest people ive met.. :D)

rykh
rykh

Are they going to fine kids who buy R movies then too? Bunch of hipocrites in politics.

Kodai_kun
Kodai_kun

>>>Why doesnt he focus on illegal immigration. That is the biggest problem in us. Not the theory of video game violence. I hate him. Illegal immigration is a massive massive problem in the us

blueburgerz
blueburgerz

Jack Thompson lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

Sha01in
Sha01in

"Thompson is the man. Why get mad at him? He's not the idiot buying his kids GTA. He's not the moron shooting someone in the face for not loaning him their car. He's not the one working at a gamestore selling M rated game to stupid little kids. When he pushes bill's that affect videogames as a whole then I get upset, but keeping them out of the hands of children is not something to whine about. Gee how bout we don't card at the liquor store anymore, and while were at it lets allow kids to be able to pick up the latest Hustler without a hitch." Exactly, why don't we stop carding at liquor store? It's a fact that countries without age restrictions on alchohol have less drunk driving fatalities and less binge drinking. What's big deal with Hustler? Countries that don't have age restriction on porn are less repressed and typically less violent.

Corvin
Corvin

I'm all for some sort of punishment to send the message not to sell M games to minors, they should be playing those games. But this doesn't sound like the right way to go about it. Someone early on in these comments said if minors stop having access to M games somehow the gaming economy would fall apart, and thats laughable. Im sure there are a decent number of under age kids playing M games, but there are enough older gamers to more than easily support the M gaming industry and games like GTA might sell a few less copies, big deal.

Waiting_4_U
Waiting_4_U

VFG said: "I can see the lawsuit already. Doesn't that state have more important matters to attend to, like cleaning up the trash heap much of it became after Katrina?" This has to be the most intelligent comment I have ever seen. I totally agree with you.

PacBoy23
PacBoy23

glad i dont live in louisiana and by the time that rule happens everywhere if it does i will be 18 probably

belgarath2323
belgarath2323

I honestly don't see the big deal. Yes, JT is completely insane and I hope he gets hit by a bus, but these laws are not banning video games... just the sale of mature games to minors. Minors shouldn't be playing these games anyways unless they're parents know about the objectionable content and approve anyway, and in that case, the minors don't have anything to worry about.