Monday, March 30, 2009

Hard Lessons for Rep. Morley

When a bill with your name on it pits you, a Utah Republican (que choir) against more responsible conservative legislators, the Attorney General, and even Grover Norquist, something went wrong.

Jack Thompson, who has crusaded nationwide against video game violence, didn't take the news well that Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. pulled the plug on Rep. Michael Morley's video game bill.

Under the bill, which Thompson drafted, stores that sold mature-rated video games to children after advertising they would not (at least the third time the same clerk violates the rule) could be sued for up to $2,000 and attorneys fees.

There was, no question, a massive lobbying campaign, driven by the software industry and gamers, urging Huntsman to veto the bill.

The governor ultimately vetoed the bill, saying it raised constitutional concerns and retailers would simply remove the age guideline labels from the games rather than expose themselves to liability.

Bunk, says Thompson, who says there were no legitimate constitutional concerns. Thompson is a former attorney, although he was disbarred in Florida last year for misconduct. (Hat Tip to Game Politics. )

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff begs to differ with Thompson. He told me last night that his office had expressed its concerns "with several different iterations of the bill" while it was pending before the Legislature.

"Ultimately, we could probably make an argument to defend it, but we will be sued, it will be costly. If we lose we will pay attorneys fees. Wouldn't you rather spend that money educating people about the rating system?" he asked. "The governor apparently decided it wasn't worth the risk."

But Thompson sees something even more nefarious. He alleges that Huntsman was bought off by the industry. His proof? A $500 contribution from the Electronic Software Association the governor received in 2006.

Evidently, the video game industry bought off the governor for about the price of a new Playstation 3 and a copy of Grand Theft Auto IV. A crappy economy leads to some very good bargains, apparently.
No doubt there is a double standard in the state, thanks to the influence of Gayle, LaVar, Sutherland, et al, when it comes to tossing aside self-proclaimed penchants for limited government in exchange for legislated morality, but it's waning as quickly as Gayle's relevance and LaVar's reputation and (apparently) Jack Thompson's sanity.

You were a stooge, Rep. Morley. You join the ranks of Wimmer, Stephenson, Christensen and Dayton in whoring your credibility for the endorsement of the "sacred" culture warriors who's day has (thankfully) come and gone.

3 comments:

  1. Morley seriously needs to learn from this. Did you see the letters from Thompson since the veto? Seriously a quote from the subject line of one:

    "I love to play hardball, and that is what Shurtleff (Dead Meat) has asked for"

    I'm really just pissed that Thompson can get me to side with Shurtleff over anything....

    http://www.gamepolitics.com/2009/03/30/jack-thompson-threatens-quotproceedquot-against-utah-attorney-general

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  2. Wow. Now that's real bat-shit crazy on display for ya. Thanks for that link.

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  3. Some how this guy thinks he's being taken seriously? He needs a nice padded room and some shock therapy.

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