Louisiana Bill SB152 sinks into the swamp

SB152 was a bill that essentially started out as a zombie-like revivification of Florida ex-attorney Jack Thompson’s bill in Utah that was whacked by the Utah governor, ostensibly on constitutional grounds. Life hasn’t been much better to SB152.

Originally the bill did a little legal judo, to perform an end-run around First Amendment guarantees, by instead leveraging truth-in-advertising regulations to fine retailers for selling mature-rated games to minors in the event that they advertised that they did not do so.

One fly in that ointment is that the retailers don’t have any such advertising claim, so even if the bill passed, and even if a retailer sold a mature-rated game to a minor (which they really should not do), then there’s still no case for the bill, since there’s no advertising claim being breached.

I’m honestly surprised the bill got as far as it did in Utah. Apparently nobody checked to see what advertising was being done.

Anyway, while there’s still arguments about resuscitating the Utah bill, it appears as SB 152 in Louisiana, with a new sponsor.

By the time the bill gets a hearing, it has been extensively rewritten to prohibit the sale of sexually explicit material to minors (which is already prohibited) but at an additional cost of US$1.6 million. The bill also explicitly excluded downloads, and the Internet. Go figure.

I’m at a bit of a loss to see why something that is already illegal and tortious should be made illegal a second time, but the Louisiana Senate disagrees with me, and passed SB 152 unanimously.

doit-dunking-dormouseSo, SB 152 makes it to the House, where it is immediately shunted to the Commerce Committee. The CC examined the bill, and voted 12-2 to kill it right there and then, as it apparently undermined due-process and exposed the State to difficult-to-control legal costs. Unless the bill’s sponsor, Senator Crowe, can make amendments to satisfy the Commerce Committee’s concerns, SB 152 is sunk.