A bill proposing to prevent the sale of videogames to minors in the state of Indiana has been abandoned after it failed to receive enough support for a senate introduction.
Senate Bill 135, proposed and supported by Indiana State Senator Vi Simpson, had yet to receive a formal introduction and as a result the full details of the bill are unknown. It is likely that the bill would have mirrored similar proposals in other US states which call for the introduction of severe penalties for retailers who sell violent or graphic videogames to persons aged less than 18 years of age.
When announcing the bill, Simpson told the Associated Press: "We're not setting ages or changing the ratings, we are asking retail agencies to enforce it. Right now, kids can walk into just about any store and get their hands on a video game in which they can shoot police officers, use drugs, steal cars, rape women or even assassinate a president. That's frightening to say the least."
A previous piece of proposed legislation, which was designed to stop minors in Indiana from coming into contact with violent arcade games, was struck down on constitutional grounds. The Entertainment Software Association has repeatedly prevented similar legislation from being implemented in various US states, and is actively involved in litigation to ensure that the current ESRB ratings and self-regulatory practices for the industry are maintained.
Whilst it is possible Senator Simpson may still pursue the matter by attaching the bill as an amendment to another proposal, reports from the Indianapolis Star suggest that the reason for its failure is due to a short legislative session in which only some of the 834 bills introduced will receive a hearing, and Simpson has expressed no desire to pursue the violent videogames bill at this point.
Other US States still have legislation changes pending, including two in Maryland, and the court battles over proposals in Michigan, Illinois and California continue unabated. However, with renewed concerns over the validity of research supporting the bills, combined with the ESA's legal victories on grounds of constitutionality, it seems unlikely that any of the changes in legislation are likely to be implemented in the near future.