TENNESSEE CONSIDERS CENSORSHIP OF MUSIC, MOVIES AND VIDEO GAMES

by: John Woods

(ROC-News Service) The first "music labeling bill " of the new millennium has arrived. The so-called "Tennessee 21st Century Media Market Responsibility Act of 2000" (currently in the Tennessee General Assembly pipeline as HB2158 in the House, and as SB 2232 in the Senate) is the most sweeping and potentially repressive governmental attempt at censorship of music and popular culture since Tipper and Al Gore first convened first their infamous "anti-rock" Congressional hearings in the mid-1980's.

These bills would would require "manufacturers, producers, sellers and any other providers to the public of interactive video game products and services, video program products, motion picture products, and sound recording products (to) submit to the Joint Committee on Children and Youth of the Tennessee General Assembly and the Department of Children's Service a joint proposal for a system for labeling the violent content in interactive video game products and services, video program products, motion picture products, and sound recording products."

The full text of the bill can be viewed by going to:
http://www.massmic.com/tenn2000.html

Summaries of HB 2158 / SB 2232 can be viewed on the Tennessee State site by clicking: http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/bills/101gahtm/Summary.asp?BillNumber=HB2158

The most unique aspect of this bill is that the Tennessee General Assembly is their allocating the power to make all future decisions as to what youths in Tennessee can hear, see or play to the agents of the state Child Protective Services! Does this mean that CPS workers (who are most likely already swamped with caseloads of child abuse, neglect and molestation cases) will be expected to sit around the office listening to the latest Limp Bizkit album in order to decide what age group it may be appropriate for? Now that's a scary thought!

If you are as outraged as we are about this bill, we urge you to send your comments and questions to the bill's sponsors Dewayne Bunch and Jeff Miller. They can be contacted at:

Dewayne Bunch (R) District 24
Phone (615) 741-3730
E-Mail Address: rep.dewayne.bunch@legislature.state.tn.us

You can find more about Dewayne and take a look at his mug by going to his web site on the Tennessee State site at:
http://www.legislature.state.tn.us/House/Members/h24.htm

Senator Jeff Miller (R) District 9
Phone (615) 741-3794
E-Mail Address: sen.jeff.miller@legislature.state.tn.us

More info on this bill will be sent out as we receive it. If you send comments and / or receive replys back from the bill's sponsors above, we'd appreciate it if you could please cc all correspondence sent and received to us at the following addresses: randyp@roc-news.com, roc-hq@theroc.org, and roc@theroc.org.

While you're at it: Tennessee Children Services (gperry@mail.state.tn.us) might be asked how THEY feel about this mad plan as well.

THE AL & TIPPER CONNECTION

And while we're in Tennessee, lets not forget about old Tipper and Al Gore and the historical role they've played leading directly to such legislative hysteria as above. Today, in the heat of the 2000 Presidential campaign Tipp & Al are going to be out there beating the highways and byways of America hustlin' for votes. So, if any of you happen to have them in your town and you have a chance to ask them questions, R.O.C. would like to suggest the following question (specifically for Tipper, but Al's answer would be interesting as well): "Since it was you who started the phenomenon of record labelling with the PMRC, and since you're from Tennessee, was it your intention to ever have overworked Children Services workers taken away from their duties of investigating abuse, neglect and molestation cases in order to monitor rock n' roll and rap, along with movies an video games? Do you support House Bill 2158 and Senate Bill 2232?"

If you're impatient and can't wait for The Big Tip & Al Show to come to a venue near you, you can always pose this and other questions to the First Lady of Censorship via her web site at the White House: http://www1.whitehouse.gov, or try and get a call through to them when they pop up on Larry King and other TV programs.

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