Lousiana Democrat Roy Burrell pushed his new violence bill through the state's House two weeks ago and this past Monday it was approved by a panel for moving on to the Senate. The statutes of the bill differ little from those other states have attempted to pass into law, dictating that any retail employee caught selling violent games to underage buyers could spend up to a year in jail and face a $2000 fine. Burrell showcased portions of Grand Theft Auto during his presentation to the panel.
Rant Time! GTA seems to be one of only three games (the others being Doom and Mortal Kombat) popularly used by legislators and watchdogs to demonstrate just how horrible video games really are. Their narrow-minded examples show just as much ignorance of the industry and competent games as their bills do – there are plenty more potentially violent/sexual games out there, but their lack of experience and understanding prevents them from using any not allegedly "inspiring" some sort of teenage crime. Parents, don't protect your kids from video games, protect them from ignorance!
Burrell told the Associated Press,"We are not violating their First Amendment rights. We are protecting our children." Whether or not his proposal makes it through the Senate, it is expected to be denied under judicial scrutiny like so many other bills of its ilk.
Another Southern Dem plans to make a (somewhat) positive contribution to video game legislation in North Carolina, where the tech sector is exploding. NC is home to such giants as Epic Games and Virtual Heroes (the people who brought you America's Army). Representative Pryor Gibson has presented a plan to his fellow statesmen to allow for a 15% tax break to any company simply for making video games. The catch? Those games cannot contain any obscene content. Who wants to bet Epic's violent Gears of War doesn't qualify, while an military-sanctioned shooter does?
Gibson's proposed bill is an oddly hypocritical one (both condemning and approving video games in the same breath), but only time will tell if the rest of the Tarheel State agrees with him.