H-3868.1          _______________________________________________


                             HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 4036



State of Washington              54th Legislature             1996 Regular Session


By Representatives Patterson, Reams, Stevens, Brown, McMahan, Elliot, Backlund, Robertson, D. Schmidt, Mulliken and Johnson


Read first time 01/12/96.  Referred to Committee on Energy & Utilities.


Memorializing Congress to adopt legislation providing for rating and blocking objectionable content on television.


     We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:

     WHEREAS, On average, a child in the United States is exposed to twenty-seven hours of television each week and some children are exposed to as much as eleven hours of television each day; and

     WHEREAS, The average American child watches eight thousand murders and one hundred thousand acts of other violence on television by the time the child completes elementary school; and

     WHEREAS, By the age of eighteen years, the average American teenager has watched two hundred thousand acts of violence on television, including forty thousand murders; and

     WHEREAS, On several occasions since 1975, the Journal of the American Medical Association has alerted the medical community to the adverse effects of televised violence on child development, including an increase in the level of aggressive behavior and violent behavior among children who view it; and

     WHEREAS, The National Commission on Children recommended in 1991 that producers of television programs exercise greater restraint in the content of programming for children; and

     WHEREAS, A report of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, dated May 1993, indicates that there is an irrefutable connection between the amount of violence depicted in the television programs watched by children and increased aggressive behavior among children; and

     WHEREAS, It is a compelling national interest that parents be empowered with the technology to block the viewing by their children of television programs whose content is overly violent or objectionable for other reasons; and

     WHEREAS, Technology currently exists to permit the manufacture of television receivers that are capable of permitting parents to block television programs having violent or otherwise objectionable content;

     NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that the United States Congress adopt legislation that provides a rating code for violence and other objectionable content on television.  This legislation should require that televisions be equipped with circuitry designed to enable viewers to block the display of channels during particular time slots and enable viewers to block display of all programs with a common rating.

     BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.


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