New York introduces more game bills

New legislation in the Senate and Assembly would make it a felony to sell games with depraved violence and indecent images to minors.

State Senator Andrew Lanza
State Senator Andrew Lanza

Earlier this month, the New York state Senate approved a bill that would make rating labels on games mandatory in the state and establish an advisory council to appraise the job done by the Entertainment Software Rating Board and a parent-teacher program to identify kids at risk for violent behavior.

The bill passed the Senate and was moved to the Assembly in just four days. With momentum like that behind the issue, two more bills were introduced last week, one from the Senate, and another from the Assembly.

After his rating labels bill met with such swift acceptance, State Senator Andrew Lanza last week introduced S5941, which would make it a class E felony to sell or rent to minors any game including "depictions of depraved violence and indecent images."

The bill defines depraved violence as "any photographic, photorealistic, or other similar visual representation of the rape, dismemberment, physical torture, mutilation, or evisceration of a human body." Indecent images would be any such visual representation "of a person or a portion of the human body which depicts nudity, sexual conduct, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors."

The next day, some of Lanza's colleagues in the New York state Assembly offered their own take on his legislative efforts, as Assemblyman Joseph Lentol introduced A8696 (as reported on by Game Politics). The new bill included Lanza's felony proposition with the same definitions for depraved violence and indecent images, as well a proposal for establishing an advisory council as set forth in Lanza's original legislation from earlier this month. Assemblyman Sheldon Silver and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer cosponsored Lentol's bill.

One new passage in Lentol's bill would put restrictions on console sales. It would mandate that all home gaming systems sold in New York include parental lockout controls that will limit access to "certain content." The bill specifically excludes PCs and handheld devices.

A representative for Lentol told GameSpot that he proposed his bill because he felt Lanza's was too vague in areas, and he felt strongly about including the parental restriction requirement. As for why handhelds like the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable were excluded from the law, the representative said it was because the parental control technology has not been fully implemented in the current systems on the market.

Both newly introduced bills would take effect 120 days after being signed into law. Both of them were referred to committees upon introduction and have yet to be voted on.

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