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Louisiana games bill passes House vote

The House committee for the state of Louisiana has unanimously passed a new videogames legislation bill, in spite of questions regarding its validity due to constitutional protection of freedom of speech.

The House committee for the state of Louisiana has unanimously passed a new videogames legislation bill, in spite of questions regarding its validity due to constitutional protection of freedom of speech.

The bill proposes the enforcement of fines ranging from USD 100-2000 for retailers found to be selling Mature rated videogames to minors, and could stretch to a 12 month prison sentence for serious violations.

Mirroring the run of previous State proposed legislative amendments - all of which have been legally challenged and many of which have been struck down in court on grounds of unconstitutionality and lack of convincing evidentiary support - the bill was passed unanimously by a vote of 102-0, with Republican representative Danny Martiny claiming that the validity of the bill in terms of First Amendment protection was "for the courts to decide."

Quick to respond to the ruling, the ESA has reiterated its position on the videogames legislative proposals, declaring the Louisiana bill "a constitutional non-starter" and stating that politicians should cease seeking headlines and "frittering away desperately needed taxpayer dollars" on game legislation attempts.

The bill will be challenged by the ESA once again, and is extremely likely to follow the same pattern as the bills put forward in Michigan, Illinois, California, Utah and other US States. The legal precedent has very much been set in favour of the ESA and the videogames industry, and the failure of the Louisiana bill in court will only further cement that position.

Author

Paul Loughrey

Contributor