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Hatch will appeal video-game ruling

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- Attorney General Mike Hatch said today he will appeal a federal court decision that struck down a state law that prohibited people younger than 17 from renting or buying violent or sexually explicit video games.

U.S. District Judge James Rosenbaum threw out the state law on July 31, finding it unconstitutional on free speech grounds one day before it would have taken effect. Rosenbaum also said the state failed to show the graphic games caused any harm to children.

Hatch will appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, he said in a prepared statement.

The state law would have fined youths younger than 17 $25 for renting or buying video games rated "M" for mature or "AO" for adults only. It also would have required stores to post warning signs about the fines.

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The attorney general said more than 1,000 studies have linked aggressive behavior in children to media violence. He said the state law would have involved parents in decisions over video games sought by their children.

"If the parents aren't troubled by their kids playing these games, they can buy them for their children," Hatch said in the statement.

In a related issue, Hatch also said he will urge Congress to require Internet service providers to regularly remind subscribers of their options to block offensive material so children can't access violent or sexually explicit sites. States aren't allowed to regulate Internet service providers.

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