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Utah House approves game legislation

Bill that would include violent games under obscenity laws passes state House with ease, moves on to Senate.

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A bill that would alter Utah's criminal code to include violent video games under the banner of "material harmful to minors" has passed the state's House of Representatives with ease. The bill passed the House by a vote of 56 to 8, with 11 legislators absent or not voting, and was introduced to the Senate this morning.

If it becomes law, Utah HB 257 would make it illegal for anyone to show or give games containing inappropriate violence to minors. The law originally would have applied to movies, music, and other media as well, but it was revised after failing to make it out of committee in its original form.

Under the state's current law for exposing minors to harmful material, each separate offense would be a third-degree felony with a minimum fine of $300 and imprisonment (with no option for a suspended sentence) of at least 14 days. If someone has already been convicted under the law once, however, the crime is then a second-degree felony with a minimum fine of $5,000 and at least a year in jail, again with no possibility of a suspended sentence.

For more on the bill including its definition of what constitutes inappropriate violence, read through GameSpot's previous coverage.

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