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New bill proposes video game rating labels, prohibiting 'adult-rated' game sales to minors

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives proposes legislation that would require ratings labels on video games and would "prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors."

House bill H.R. 287, sponsored by Democratic representative Jim Matheson of Utah, was introduced on Jan. 15. A summary of the bill is not available, according to congressional records online, but the proposal echoes legislation introduced multiple times by Democratic representative Joe Baca of California.

Baca's 2012 bill proposed warning labels stating that "exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior" be placed on video game packaging already rated by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, the self-regulating industry body that voluntarily rates and labels video games.

Rep. Matheson has co-sponsored earlier legislation aimed at prohibiting the sale video games that do not bear an ESRB rating, prohibiting the sale of "Adults only" rated games to a person under the age of 18 and prohibiting the sale of "Mature" rated games to a person under the age of 17.

Matheson's latest proposed legislation was introduced days after Vice President Joe Biden met with video game industry executives and the day before President Barack Obama called for research investigating the relationship between video games, "media images" and violence.

We left a message with Rep. Matheson's office, which was closed for the day.

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