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Bill calling for study of violent video games reintroduced to Congress

A bill originally introduced in Congress last year calling for a study into the effects of violent video games and other content on children, was re-introduced in Congress this week by West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller.

The original bill died when the 112th session ended on Jan. 2, but Rockefeller's office told Polygon that the senator planned on reintroducing it this year. He did so yesterday, where it was referred to committee, according to Congressional records. While the bill has four co-sponsors, GovTrack lists its chance of getting out of committee at 12 percent, and becoming law at two percent.

Rockefeller repeated that promise last week while applauding President Barack Obama's anti-gun violence initiatives. As part of that 23-part plan, unveiled last week, Obama called for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct further research into the relationship between video games, "media images" and violence.

That research requires Congress to provide $10 million to the CDC. While officials at the CDC declined to comment, those with knowledge of the research told Polygon that the CDC believes that further research into any possible connection between video games, media and violence is both necessary and likely.

Rockfeller references that call for research last week when reiterating his plans to introduce his own research bill.

"I think everyone can agree that the impact of violent content on our kids' wellbeing is an important issue, and I'm glad this new plan will take a close look at it," he wrote. "I am working hard in the Senate to make sure this type of research — which I have strongly backed throughout my career — is available to inform our work on gun violence. Next week, I plan to reintroduce my bill to have the National Academy of Sciences study the link between violent content and children's behavior."

"I think everyone can agree that the impact of violent content on our kids' well-being is an important issue"

That bill asks the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a 'comprehensive study and investigation of the connection between violent video games and violent video programming and harmful effects on children," Specifically, according to the bill, the academy would examine whether violent video games and programming cause kids to act aggressively or if it otherwise hurts their well-being. They'll also be asked to see if any impact is significantly different than the impact of other types of media.

The academy would then submit their report to Congress as well as to the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission, according to the bill.

This is the second bill related to violence and video games introduced to Congress in its opening month.

House bill H.R. 287, sponsored by Democratic representative Jim Matheson of Utah, was introduced on Jan. 15. It would require ratings labels on video games and would"prohibit the sales and rentals of adult-rated video games to minors."

In Missouri, a Republican representative introduced a state bill that would levy a one percent sales tax on "violent video games" based on their ESRB ratings.

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