Prohibits the sale to minors of certain rated video games containing a rating that reflects content of various degrees of profanity, racist stereotypes or derogatory language, and/or actions toward a specific group of persons.
BILL NUMBER: S699 REVISED 01/14/09
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the general business law, in relation to prohibiting sale of certain video games to minors
PURPOSE : This bill would prevent minors under the age of 18 from purchasing video games that have a mature or violent rating, and it requires the purchaser to show a valid form of identification in order to purchase the game. These games, containing adult images such as morbid violence, rape, alcohol and illegal drug use, as well as other malicious acts, are not appropriate for children under 18. This legislation will regulate the sale of such games.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS : Section 1 adds a new section 391-q to the General Business Law, to prohibit the sale or rental of video games with a "mature" or "violent" rating to any individual under the age of 18. It also requires retailers or rental outlets to request identification from individuals seeking to buy or rent these products.
Section 2 is a severability clause.
Section 3 establishes an effective date.
JUSTIFICATION : Video games containing purely adult images, situations, and scenarios are far too readily available to children who often purchase these games without any resistance from sellers. Studies have shown that younger children who are exposed to games containing morbid violence, illegal use of drugs and alcohol, violent crime, rape, and suicide are more likely to partake in these crimes as they mature.
This bill would ban the sale of video games that have been given a violent or mature rating to minors under the age of 18, and it would require purchasers of these games to show a valid form of identification in order to be sold. The bill would take a step towards preventing our children from being influenced by the glamorization of violence portrayed in such video games. Video games that include acts such as violent crime, suicide, sodomy, rape, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, racism, religious violence, and the illegal use of drugs or alcohol will be inaccessible to the most easily influenced group. Similar legislation has already been introduced in other states, such as New Jersey, Washington, Hawaii, Florida, and California.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : Senate: 2007-08 - S.3866 Referred to Consumer Protection 2006 - S.2711A Referred to Consumer Protection 2005 - S.7140 Referred to Consumer protection 2004 - S.7140 Referred to Consumer Protection Assembly: New Bill- Referred to Consumer Affairs and protection
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None to the state.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 699 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 13, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sens. C. JOHNSON, AUBERTINE, BRESLIN, DIAZ, MONTGOMERY, ONORATO, PARKER, SAMPSON, THOMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law, in relation to prohibiting sale of certain video games to minors THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 391-q to read as follows: S 391-Q. SALE OF CERTAIN VIDEO GAMES TO MINORS PROHIBITED. 1. NO PERSON, PARTNERSHIP OR CORPORATION SHALL SELL OR RENT OR OFFER TO SELL OR RENT TO ANY PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN YEARS ANY VIDEO GAME THAT HAS A MATURE OR VIOLENT RATING. SUCH VIDEOS MAY CONTAIN, BUT SHALL NOT BE LIMITED TO, DEPICTIONS DESCRIPTIVE OF, ADVOCATING OR GLAMORIZING COMMISSION OF A VIOLENT CRIME, SUICIDE, SODOMY, RAPE, INCEST, BESTIALI- TY, SADOMASOCHISM, ANY FORM OF SEXUAL ACTIVITY IN A VIOLENT CONTEXT, OR ADVOCATING OR ENCOURAGING MURDER, VIOLENT RACISM, RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE, MORBID VIOLENCE OR THE ILLEGAL USE OF DRUGS OR ALCOHOL. 2. EVERY PERSON, PARTNERSHIP OR CORPORATION ENGAGED IN THE RETAIL SALE OR RENTAL OF VIDEO GAMES SHALL STORE AND DISPLAY SUCH VIDEO GAMES CONTAINING CONTENTS LISTED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION IN A LOCATION DESIGNATED FOR PERSONS OVER THE AGE OF EIGHTEEN, IN A MANNER WHICH RESTRICTS ACCESS TO SUCH VIDEO GAMES. 3. SALE OR RENTAL OF ANY VIDEO GAME THAT CONTAINS ANY CONTENTS LISTED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, SHALL BE MADE ONLY TO AN INDIVIDUAL WHO DEMONSTRATES, THROUGH (A) A VALID DRIVER'S LICENSE OR NON-DRIVER'S IDENTIFICATION AND ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF MOTOR VEHICLES, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, ANY UNITED STATES TERRITORY, COMMONWEALTH OR POSSESSION, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, A STATE GOVERNMENT WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OR A PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DOMINION OF CANADA; OREXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD00169-01-9 S. 699 2
(B) A VALID PASSPORT ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OR ANY OTHER COUNTRY; OR (C) AN IDENTIFICATION CARD ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES, INDICATING THAT THE INDIVIDUAL IS AT LEAST EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE. SUCH IDENTIFICATION NEED NOT BE REQUIRED OF ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO REASONABLY APPEARS TO BE AT LEAST THIRTY YEARS OF AGE, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH APPEARANCE SHALL NOT CONSTITUTE A DEFENSE IN ANY PROCEEDING INVOLVING SALE OR RENTAL OF ANY VIDEO GAME, TO AN INDIVIDUAL UNDER EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE. 4. IN ANY PROCEEDING PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION, IT SHALL BE AN AFFIRMA- TIVE DEFENSE THAT A PERSON PURCHASING OR RENTING OR ATTEMPTING TO PURCHASE OR RENT ANY VIDEO GAME DESCRIBED IN SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION PRODUCED A DRIVER'S LICENSE OR A NON-DRIVER IDENTIFICATION CARD APPARENTLY ISSUED BY A GOVERNMENT ENTITY OR OTHER IDENTIFICATION PURSU- ANT TO SUBDIVISION THREE OF THIS SECTION, SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED THE TRANSACTION, AND THAT THE VIDEO GAME SOLD OR RENTED TO SUCH PERSON WAS REASONABLE RELIANCE UPON SUCH IDENTIFICATION AND TRANSACTION. IN EVALU- ATING THE APPLICABILITY OF SUCH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE, CONSIDERATION SHALL BE GIVEN TO ANY WRITTEN POLICY ADOPTED AND IMPLEMENTED BY THE SELLER TO EFFECTUATE THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION. USE OF ANY METHOD OF AN ELEC- TRONIC TRANSACTION SCAN SHALL NOT EXCUSE ANY PERSON OPERATING A PLACE OF BUSINESS WHEREIN VIDEO GAMES ARE SOLD OR RENTED, OR THE AGENT OR EMPLOY- EE OF SUCH PERSON, FROM THE EXERCISE OF DUE DILIGENCE. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION, ANY SUCH AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE SHALL NOT BE APPLICABLE IN ANY CIVIL OR CRIMINAL PROCEEDING, OR IN ANY OTHER FORUM. 5. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION "RATING" MEANS THE STANDARDIZED DESIGNATION COMMONLY USED TO INFORM PARENTS ABOUT VIDEO GAMES REGARDING LISTENING AND VIEWING BY THEIR CHILDREN. S 2. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision or part of this act, or the application thereof to any person or circum- stance, shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid or unconstitutional, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the reminder thereof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision or part of this act, or in its application to the person or circumstance, directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have been rendered. S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law.