Violent games bill thrown out by Oklahoma subcommittee

Proposed tax on violent games loses due to tenuous links to obesity and bullying

A bill that would have imposed a one per cent tax on the sale of violent video games in the state of Oklahoma has been rejected, Eurogamer reports.

The bill lost a subcommittee vote by a narrow margin of 5-6, largely due to concerns over a founding premise that linked video games to bullying and obesity among children.

The legislation was introduced by state representative William Fourkiller earlier this month, and would have applied to any game rated Teen, Mature or Adult Only by the ESRB. However, while that would encompass a number of 'violent' games, it would also include products like Zumba Fitness 2 and Dance Central.

Half of all the money recouped from the tax would have been donated to the Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund - a charity dedicated to "outdoor education initiatives." The other half would have been donated to the Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund.

According to the subcommittee minutes, representative Mike Reyonolds questioned what Fourkiller hoped to accomplish with the bill, and representative Pat Ownbey placed the issue of childhood obesity in a broader context.

"Why just video games? Why not French fries or rap music or movies?" Ownbey asked. Fourkiller acknowledged that there was no "magic bullet" solution to such issues, but the bill represented a way to raise awareness.

"It's not a good idea," Reynolds added. "We could have a task force on a multitude of reasons children are obese. Why we're picking violent video games was because it was originally a tax."

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Latest comments (11)

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve8 years ago
Another poorly thought out piece of legislation bites the dust, good riddance.
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Dave Herod Senior Programmer, Codemasters8 years ago
It does worry me sometimes that ridiculous proposals like this can actually advance to the stage where people with power actually take them seriously.
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Joshua Rose Executive Producer / Lead Designer, Storm Eagle Studios8 years ago
I played videogames all my life. I even played the original Grand Theft Auto. You don't see me running around and killing hookers with baseball bats in the middle of the street do ya? Nope! Why? Because my parents raised me well and made sure I knew the difference between a video game and reality (not that it takes much).

Parents should be the ones to decide whether their kids can play games, not the government.
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Show all comments (11)
James Wells Gaming Contributor - 8 years ago
Glad to see sanity prevailed! These clueless politicians were simply pandering to the conservative voters, and have likely never played a video game in the past 30 years, if at all.
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The clueless politicians are either one step to recommended martial law or draconian legislature and I do wonder if due process will ever prevails some days. :)
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Pablo Santos Developer 8 years ago
Well I am not surprised.
The hoax of a bill trying to change the value of PI wouldn't exist at all if there weren't any absurd like this one. ;-)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Pablo Santos on 27th February 2012 5:02pm

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Daniel O'Connor Journalist 8 years ago
I always find it disheartening that bills like this reach a place where people in power actually consider them. If parents and other likeminded individuals spent half as much time raising their kid properly as they did finding new ways to shift the blame for their crappy parenting, obesity and bullying wouldn't be an issue in the first place.
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Jason Sartor Copy editor/Videographer, Florida Today8 years ago
@Tom Pickard: This bill was written by Democrat Will Fourkiller.
In fact, most of these bills are proposed and written by Democrats. The California bill that was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court was authored by by California State Senator Leland Yee - who represents District 8 (the western half of San Francisco, California), he also is running for mayor of San Francisco.
Early in the 90s when Mortal Kombat came out and some people started to question video game violence then-Democrat (now independent as he lost the Democratic primary, but won the general election) Senator Joe Liberman was the leader to push for bans and censorship.
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I know it is popular for the liberal media to bash and say conservative, but the "Nanny State" of letting government dictate everything is the bastion of the left, including this amazing gem from Chicago, in which the school bans kids from bringing lunch from home requiring them to buy the oh so amazingly healthy school chicken nuggets deep fried in oil:
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Jack Lee8 years ago
I think we can all agree that Fourkiller is a great last name and that he will be the star of the next Force Unleashed release.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.8 years ago
Thank you, Jason. I was going to say something similar.

We tend to be quick on the draw against the conservative right when we think of legislation such as this but it's actually the liberal left that does most of the major proposals and restrictions.

But that's par for the hypocritical course for politics here in the US.
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Tommy Thompson Lecturer in BSc (Hons) Computer Games Programming., University of Derby8 years ago
Argh, Jack you beat me to it! I chuckled upon reading the representatives name.

I'm happy to see that this has been shot down. However the growing number of proposals for legislation is rather concerning. It seems even in the UK that, despite the Byron review, we're not really any closer to resolving these ill-formed attitudes.
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