Ars Technica reports that the Utah State Senate and House have both passed Jack Thompson's proposed legislation that would stiffen penalties for the sale of M-rated games to minors. Oddly, on its trip through the state legislature, amendments rendered it largely ineffective; retailers are in the clear if the employee who sold the game goes through a training program, or if the minor misrepresents his age. It's also possible that the bill could cause some retailers to simply take down their ESRB-related advertising. Thompson's statements about the bill put the focus on advertising, but discussion on the Utah Senate floor had a familiar ring, touching on the story of a Grand Theft Auto player who killed two policemen in 2003. The ESRB wrote an open letter in opposition of the bill, saying it could undo the efforts they've made to popularize their rating system. The bill's sponsors fired back, questioning the industry's overall commitment to ratings, and now it awaits only the governor's signature before becoming law.
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