The folks over at the GamePolitics blog have an entry up on a couple of bills here in Michigan that would criminalize the sale of Mature rated video games to minors under the age of 17 which appear likely to pass:
Hal Halpin, president of the Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA) contacted GamePolitics late yesterday with an update on the pending video game legislation in Michigan.
Hal advises that a pair of bills under consideration by the Michigan House of Representatives were overwhelmingly passed yesterday. SB 416 and 464 will now be returned to the Michigan Senate for concurrence with the House version. The Senate overwhelmingly passed the bills earlier this year.
Both the IEMA and the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) lobbied against the measures without success. State Representative Leon Drolet (R-Clinton) was one of only three legislators who voted against the bills. Drolet (seen at upper left) additionally read his objections and explanation into the House record.
A pair of House bills, HB 4702 and 4703 were also sent to the desk of Governor Jennifer Granholm.
It seems likely that Michigan will adopt its own video game legislation very soon, joining Illinois as the only two states with game sales restrictions empowered with the force of law.
Wow, a Republican here in my own state that I actually agree with.
Anyway, one of the two bills is actually an amendment to Senate Bill No. 416 which deals with allowing minors to be exposed to sexually explicit material. The amendment adds “Ultra Violent Video Games” as a punishable offense.
It doesn’t bother to state what the standards for an ultra violent video game happens to be, but it potentially means that I could be prosecuted if I decide to allow my 15 year old daughter to play Grand Theft Auto. Hell, for that matter, I could be charged just for letting her see the game at all. Yep, it’s not just about selling the games to minors, but allowing them to be exposed to them.
Update: Looking at the bills further it turns out that they do define ultra violent video games as follows “aggressive acts of real or simulated realistic graphic depictions of physical injuries or physical violence against parties who realistically appear to be human beings, including actions causing death, inflicting cruelty, dismemberment, decapitation, maiming, disfigurement, or other mutilation of body parts, murder, criminal sexual conduct, or torture in a manner that is especially heinous or atrocious.” Also it appears that the penalties for facilitating a minor acquiring these materials only applies if you’re not the legal parent or guardian, though I’m not entirely positive on that point as it seems to contradict parts of the other bill. I wonder how long it’ll be before we see lawsuits where one set of parents sues another because little Johnie’s best friend let him play GTA?