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Californian violent games bill voted down; Illinois bill passes

A senate committee in California has voted down a bill which would have imposed fines on retailers who sold M-rated videogames to minors, but on the same day, an even tougher bill in Illinois has cleared a further legislative hurdle.

A senate committee in California has voted down a bill which would have imposed fines on retailers who sold M-rated videogames to minors, but on the same day, an even tougher bill in Illinois has cleared a further legislative hurdle.

The Californian bill, which was proposed by Leland Yee - the senator behind several previous attempts to pass similar legislation - was defeated in a 5-4 vote in the House Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media.

It's not the first time that Yee's legislation has run into a brick wall at this point in the process - and other previous bills of his dealing with the issue of violent games have been massively watered down before entering into law.

In Illinois, however, it was a different story, with the state's Senate Housing and Community Affairs Committee approving a new piece of legislation called the Safe Games Illinois Act by a 6-2 margin, which means it will now move forward to the State Senate.

That bill is even further reaching than the Californian bill, and would allow the state to put its own ratings on games independent of the ESRB ratings used voluntarily by the videogames industry, and would impose severe fines and penalties on retailers who sold violent titles to minors.

Commenting on the Californian legislation, the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association's director of government relations, Marie Sylla, welcomed the vote against the bill, saying that "it is evident that most of the committee members recognized the obvious flaw with the legislation - that it is wholly unconstitutional."

Indeed, similar legislation in other states has been struck down even after being signed into law on the basis that it infringes on the first amendment rights of videogame creators.

However, Sylla noted that the voting down of this specific piece of legislation isn't likely to end Leland Yee's crusade against the industry's violent games. "It is likely that Assemblyman Yee will push for reconsideration on his bill," she commented. "Retailers are making their best efforts to ensure that their stores are complying with their policy of carding for Mature-rated games and would like to be given the same opportunity as the movie theatre owners and music retailers."

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Rob Fahey avatar

Rob Fahey

Contributing Editor

Rob Fahey is a former editor of GamesIndustry.biz who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.