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Washington State Adopts Violent Video Ban; Trade Group To File Lawsuit

Posted On: 5/21/2003

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OLYMPIA, WA -- (Posted May 21) In a ceremony yesterday before reporters, TV cameras and lawmakers, Washington state governor Gary Locke signed into law a bill that makes it a misdemeanor to sell or rent certain violent video games to minors. While the law is aimed at consumer games, the American Amusement Machine Association believes it will also apply to coin-operated amusements. Following the governor's signing ceremony, the Interactive Digital Software Association, which represents consumer game manufacturers, promptly announced plans to file a federal lawsuit on grounds that the new law is unconstitutional. IDSA president Doug Lowenstein said he expects additional plaintiffs will support the suit and that if the industry wins, it could cost Washington state citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys ' fees. The new law bans video games that depict violence against police officers for players under 17. It also relies somewhat upon industry-created ratings to define violent games. The law's chief sponsor, state Sen. Mary Lou Dickerson, says other states are already asking her how they can pass similar legislation. "So video game industry, look out," she was quoted as saying by the Tacoma, WA, News Tribune.