State of California to pay ESA $950,000 in legal fees

Taxpayers to pick up tab for Governator's legal misadventure

Remember back when the great state of California, at the behest of then-Governor Schwarzenegger and State Senator Leland Yee, tried to pass that law restricting the sale of violent videogames to minors – only to have the Supreme Court rule such a law unconstitutional? Well, all that adjudicatin' don't come for free, and now the state has agreed to reimburse the Entertainment Software Association $950,000 in legal fees.

The ESA had initially lodged a request for the state to repay the full $1.1 million in legal costs, but $150,000 between friends is chump change. After all, take into account the legal costs of the two earlier rulings in California's lower court, and the state will have reimbursed the ESA a total of $1,327,000. The Association points out that similar reimbursements from other states have netted a total of $3.1 million in legal recompense.

The proceedings, which were carried out against the backdrop of a long-lamented budget crisis for the state, “wasted more than $1 million in taxpayer funds at a time when Californians could ill afford it,” says the Association's CEO, Michael D. Gallagher. He stressed, however, that his Association would continue to work with states to educate consumers in self-regulating measures such as the ESRB rating system.

The ESA also announced that a portion of the reimbursed legal fees would be put toward developing after-school projects in the poorer areas of Oakland and Sacramento. The programs, which will launch in Spring of this year, will appeal to what the ESA calls a "natural passion for playing and making video games" in the state's youth, "connect[ing] them to the development of critical 21st Century job skills."

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