The state Senate today approved $13 million in settlements and fees in legal disputes lost by the state, including nearly $1 million in court-ordered attorneys fees in the Entertainment Merchants Association's successful challenge of a California law banning the sale of violent video games to minors.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the industry group last year in its effort to block the violent video game ban, upholding decisions at the federal and appellate court levels. Critics of the law, which was approved by the state Legislature and signed into law by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, had argued that the restrictions violated their First Amendment right to free speech.
The legislation, Senate Bill 730, was approved with bipartisan support, by a vote of 32-5.
Senate Bill 730 also gave the green light for a $4.23 million settlement in a lawsuit between EdFund, the state's former student loan guarantor, and a Mather business park office complex, two payments totaling $5.5 million in cases against the Department of Forestry and the Department of Fish and Game and a $1.5 million settlement in a lawsuit against the Department of Parks and Recreation filed by a man who had been struck by a falling tree at Los Banos Creek Reservoir in Merced County.
The appropriation bill, which requires a two-thirds vote to take effect immediately, must be approved by the Assembly before heading to Gov. Jerry Brown, who defended the video game law as state attorney general, for consideration.