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Sources: Rockefeller Looking to Fast Track Violence Bill

There was talk Monday that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) would look to try and fast-track his Violent Content Research Act of 2013 this week, perhaps as early as today (Dec. 16).

He was said to be seeking to "hotline" the bill, which would mean trying to get his colleagues to agree to it by unanimous consent, which obviates the need for a floor vote or debate. It would still need to pass in the House.

Last week marked the one-year-anniversary of the Newtown shootings in Connecticut, with an exclamation mark provided by another school shooting in Colorado, not far from Columbine.

Rockefeller, who will retire at the end of next year, has long been an advocate of reigning in video violence for the sake of kids, including proposing legislation that would have given the FCC authority to regulate it as it does sexuality and profanity via its indecency rules.

The bill, which was introduced in January of this year, requires the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent video games and violent video programming on children and figure out if there is a causal connection between either and real-world violence.

It passed out of the Commerce Committee last summer.

It has not drawn much pushback from industry.

The National Association of Broadcasters, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and the Motion Picture Association of
America all issued statements in advance of the violence bill's passage saying they supported the research.

Specifically, under the bill:

"The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) would conduct a comprehensive study and investigation of the connection between violent video games and violent video programming and harmful effects on children. NAS would examine whether violent video games and programming cause kids to act aggressively or have other harmful effects, and whether that effect is distinguishable from other types of media.  It also would look at the direct and long-lasting impact of violent content on a child’s well-being.

"With respect to violent video games, NAS must look at whether current or emerging aspects of games, like their interactive nature and the personal and vivid way violence is portrayed, have a unique impact on kids.

"NAS would be asked to recommend areas for future research and would be required to submit a report on its investigation within 15 months to Congress as well as to the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Department of Health and Human Services."