Attempt to legislate video game sales to minors added to state budget woes

Schwarzenegger vs. EMA cost California $1.8m

California was forced to pick up the legal fees for a Supreme court case regarding legislation to fine retailers for selling minors games deemed violent.

The cost to taxpayers totalled about $1.8 dollars for a law which never took effect, The Sacramento Bee reported.

The Supreme court ruled against the law, backed by the then governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Brown, attorney general, by 7-2.

Despite a financial crisis in the state of California, the Governor decided to appeal the legislation, already rejected by two lower courts, in 2009.

"It was an important issue to the governor," said Schwarzenegger’s former legal affairs secretary, Andrea Hoch.

Crafted by former San Francisco democatic assemblyman Leland Yee, the legislation would have fined a store $1,000 for selling or renting a game allowing players to commit murder, torture, or "other heinous acts", and also required the clear labeling of violent games.

"I think we felt the issue was so important that it warranted the costs associated with it," said Jim Humes, Brown’s chief deputy.

Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association disagrees, saying that the state needs to better assess the risk to taxpayers before voting on legistlation certain to be challenged as unconstitutional.

"I think it’s fair to say the industry warned the state that they were just getting themselves into a big legal mess," said video game industry attorney Paul Smith. "That’s exactly what happened."

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