Illegal Game Law Costs California $282K

By Chris Faylor, Aug 05, 2008 12:39pm PDT
In the wake of Califonia's recent budget woes, the state today joined the ranks of Minnesota, Illinois and Louisana as it reimbursed the ESA $282,794 for legal fees relating to last year's overturning of an unconstitutional video game sales law.

"California deserves more from its legislators than pursuing flawed legislation," said ESA CEO Mike Gallagher (pictured left). "Rather than tackling real problems affecting Californians, they chose to waste time, money and state resources. It is shameful that legislators pursued personal agendas in spite of the facts."

According to the ESA, California is currently facing a $15 billion budget gap, with 100,000 state employees recently laid off, Governor Schwarzenegger seeking to cut wages for another 200,000, and the state reducing its Medicaid support by 10%.

The loosely-worded law would have created a new state-mandated rating label for games, with retailers fined if minors obtained a title that contained "serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel."

"The definition could literally apply to some classic literature if put in the form of a video game," remarked Judge Ronald Whyte, who ruled the legislation as unconstitutional.

California is currently seeking to appeal Whyte's decision, causing Gallagher to remark, "It is unfortunate that the state is stubbornly pursuing an appeal that is likely to lead to even more court-awarded fees."

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