Game politics heat-up as ESA files suit against Louisiana to overturn law

19 June 2006
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PS2 Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - Special EditionLouisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco yesterday signed into law HB1381, which made it illegal for retailers in the state to sell, rent, or lease some violent games. The bill went into effect immediately upon signing.

Today the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) announced that it has filed suit against the state of Louisiana in the Federal District Court of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to have the law overturned. The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) is a co-plaintiff in the suit.

“Louisiana legislators have decided to squander taxpayers’ money on a bet they can’t win,” said EMA president Bo Andersen in a statement. “Despite what the legislature has been told, the Louisiana video game restriction law is not unique–a very similar measure was passed in Michigan and promptly overturned in federal court. The Louisiana law suffers from the same constitutional defects as the Michigan law and the five other video game laws that have been enjoined on constitutional grounds. It will meet the same fate, and the taxpayers of Louisiana will end up having to pay for the legislature’s reckless gamble.”

ESA president Douglas Lowenstein said that the bill was unnecessary, noting that parents are involved in the purchase of M-rated games 80 percent of the time and that retailers already card minors trying to purchase them. He added that Louisiana was sending a mixed message to the gaming industry with the law.

“HB 1381 also directly undermines efforts legislators started after enactment of tax credit legislation less than [a] year ago designed to lure video game development and production to Louisiana to generate needed high-paying technology jobs,” Lowenstein said. “Signing this bill into law would no doubt hurt the state’s economy, essentially hanging up a ‘Stay Out of Louisiana’ sign on the state’s borders for video game companies.” -Via Gamespot

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Josh Romero By Josh Romero: He is a lover of videogames, as well as metal music, Gilmore Girls, chatting, social networking, Phoenix Suns, reading, writing and many other nerdy things. Read his posts here and connect with him on Youtube.


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