As Barack Obama Becomes President, Your Guide To Current Video Game Legislation

With our nation’s 44th President, Barack Obama, taking office this morning, it’s a good time to brush up on the state and federal legislation related to video games that’s currently working through government.


We have a new President. It’s unclear if Barack Obama himself will have time to address video games in the next four years, but others in government will.

Most video game-related legislation has failed to make sweeping changes to the way the medium is developed, bought or sold. Every year, however, there are people attempting to do just that and 2009 looks to be no different.

With help from gaming politics website GamePolitics and the Entertainment Consumers Association, here’s a guide to what legislation is making its way through the country (so far) in 2009 and how you can participate.

(Federal) H.R. 231 — “The Video Game Health Labeling Act of 2009”
Sponsor(s): Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)
Synopsis: Any video game rated T or above by the ESRB would also feature a label reading  “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games and other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior,” in addition to standard ESRB descriptors.
Get Involved:

(New York) A01474
Sponsor(s): Keith Wright (D)
Synopsis: A bill proposing a restriction on the sales 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” to those under the age of 18.
Get Involved:

(Massachusetts) HB1423
Sponsor(s): Rep. Linda Dorcena Forry (D), Rep. Christine Canavan (D), Boston Mayor Thomas Menino (D)
Synopsis: Seeks to restrict sales to younger consumers by classifying violent video games as harmful to minors, similar to how pornography is treated.
Get Involved:

You have the information. Now, are you going to get involved?

[Image Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images]

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