Today in “legislators are comically out of touch with how the world woks”, State Legislators in Pennsylvania put forth a bill that would add a 10% tax to any video game that receives a M for Mature or AO – Adult only rating from the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). The state would then take that money and put into the “Digital Protection for School Safety account”…because you know, protect the children. Unfortunately, text doesn’t let me express just how big my eye-roll at reading this was.Continue reading “Proposed PA legislation attempts to put ‘Sin tax’ on Video Games”
And now it’s 3 legislative hits against video games in 2 days. Utah Rep. Jim Matheson penned another act to make it a criminal offense to sell any game rated by the ESRB as M or AO to anyone under the age of 17 and 18 respectively. Additionally, it would make it a legal requirement that all games have an ESRB rating. So, keeping in mind that the ESRB is voluntary system, that every game publisher abides by anyway (indie games are an entirely different beast), this seems un-needed and silly. Its even more interesting to note that according to the FTC, the compliance with the age rating on video games is higher than compliance with the ratings for music and movies. For those wondering, there’s no law mandating that movies have to be rated, or that music has to be rated — nor is there a law requirement the enforcement of the ratings. Just saying…
And yet, this seems like an appropriate venue to spend taxpayer money to someone. Similar laws have been struck down repeatedly in other states, and this one is strikingly similar to Brown vs. EMA which had a Supreme Court ruling such a law is unconstitutional. It boggles the mind. The chances of this bill becoming anything other than a money sink is slim to none. But at least it’s nice to know that people still blame video games for all the world’s wrongs, and come up with solutions that I don’t have a problem.
Via: The Escapist
Today isn’t really the best day for video games, specifically video game violence. In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, video games have once again come into the spotlight as being the harbinger of doom, despite having no direct connections to Sandy Hook or any other violent crime. Video Game violence has been on the minds of legislatures like Leland Yee and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, who penned a law in 2010 that would make the sale of violent video games to minors a crime. Luckily, the law was deemed unconstitutional in 2011 by the Supreme Court in Brown vs. EMA.
There have been numerous studies (way more than I care to post) about video game violence, with the most prevalent outcome being — no conclusive evidence for or against video game violence increasing violence in children. But, that didn’t stop Missouri Representative Diane Franklin from submitting a bill that would put a tax on violent video games, and then use the money generated to treat exposure to violent video games. The assumption is that video game violence is a known evil, that needs to dealt with. Chances are that the bill won’t pass as similar bills in the past have all been overturned (See Brown Vs. EMA for cases). I won’t rehash old arguments, but the phrase “chilling effect” comes to mind with taxes on certain classes of games.
Then, in almost the same breath, Obama asks the CDC to research the effects of violent media (including video games) on children, to determine the cause of this epidemic of violent children. I can’t help but wonder what the drive is here, other than to maybe appease the masses and some of the more conservative politicians. Anything study that does come out of the CDC on video game violence is years away at this point, and video games are often a “shoot from the hip” (pun intended) target – rarely a sticky one. In all fairness, President Obama does seem to take a balanced approach and not an alarmist, sensationalist approach to video game violence.
Reference: House Bill No. 157 2013