Game bill picks up steam in Illinois
Safe Games Illinois Act passed by state's Judiciary Committee; bill moves on to state Senate.
Among numerous long-struggling state bills and local ordinances that remain in various stages of implementation is HB 4023, a bill introduced into the Illinois State House last December by Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora).
Called The Safe Games Illinois Act, the bill would supersede current ESRB ratings when it comes to video games with "violent and sexually explicit" content, according to that state's governor's office.
In effect, the bill would allow state officials to determine standards that would form the basis for a ratings system somewhat similar to what the ESRB currently has in effect.
In the case of HB 4023, however, the focus would be on isolating games deemed to have content not suitable for those under the age of 18 and would also attach a fine to retailers who violate the restriction on sales of those games.
According to the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, who supports the bill, retailers would be required to label games determined to have violent and sexually explicit content in ways "similar to the Parental Advisory label found on music CDs." Retailers would be required to post signs explaining the video game rating system on the premises.
According to the governor's office, if a retailer fails to "properly label games or place proper signs," he or she risks a $1,000 fine for the first three violations and a $5,000 fine for each subsequent violation.
The bill, while passed on the Illinois House floor last week, still needs the approval of the state Senate before it goes to the governor to be signed into law.
LaVia said in a statement this week, "I believe children under 18 should not be able to purchase video games intended for adults. Illinois has the opportunity to lead the nation on this issue, and I'm determined to see this important legislation signed into law."
The bill passed the state House on a vote of 91 to 19. According to the governor's office, state Senator Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) will be the lead sponsor of the legislation in the state Senate.
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