Utah Governor Axes Violent Game Legislation

Though the legislation passed the Senate and House of Representatives with much political support, GamePolitics reports that Utah governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. has vetoed a controversial amendment to the state's "Truth in Advertising Act."

Drafted with the help of outspoken anti-game activist Jack Thompson, the legislation would have seen stores fined if they established, advertised and then violated a policy to keep goods with age recommendations--games, movies, etc.--out of minor's hands.

As stores would not be fined if they did not adopt such a policy, many feared that the legislation would actually cause retailers to ignore recommended age restrictions, such as the ESRB content ratings found on all game boxes in North America.

Explaining his decision, Huntsman said that the bill would have most likely been found unconstitutional and would had discouraged "age appropriate labels." His complete explanation, courtesy Saintless, follows below:

Dear Speaker Clark and President Waddoups:

After careful consideration and study, I have decided to veto HB 353, TRUTH IN ADVERTISING ACT AMENDMENTS, and have transmitted it to the Lieutenant Governor for filing.

While protecting children from inappropriate materials is a laudable goal, the language of this bill is so broad that it likely will be struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause and/or the First Amendment.

The industries most affected by this new requirement indicated that rather than risk being held liable under this bill, they would likely choose to no longer issue age appropriate labels on goods and services. Therefore, the unintended consequence of the bill would be that parents and children would have no labels to guide them in determining the age appropriateness of the goods or service, thereby increasing children's potential exposure to something they or their parents would have otherwise determined was inappropriate under the voluntary labeling system now being recognized and embraced by a significant majority of vendors.


Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola