Mar 06, 2018
While battles continue in both the federal court system and Congress, Washington has become the first state to enact a law to enforce net neutrality protections following a federal rollback late last year.
"Today we make history: Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet," Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, said Monday during a signing ceremony for the bill. "We've seen the power of an open internet. It allows a student in Washington to connect with researchers all around the world -- or a small business to compete in the global marketplace. It's allowed the free flow of information and ideas in one of the greatest demonstrations of free speech in our history."
\u201cToday we make history: Washington will be the first state in the nation \nto preserve the open internet with our own #NetNeutrality law. The open internet lives on for Washingtonians.\u201d— Governor Jay Inslee (@Governor Jay Inslee) 1520298002
Washington's House Bill 2282, passed by the state legislature last week, came in response to a party-line vote by the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in December to dismantle federal regulations of internet service providers (ISPs) that aimed to prevent massive telecommunications companies from throttling speeds and blocking access to certain online content.
The state's move comes as nearly two dozen state attorneys general as well as the advocacy group Free Press have launched legal challenges to the federal rollback, and members of Congress--led by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)--are pushing for the passage of a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution, under which lawmakers could vote to reverse the FCC's decision.
\u201cMomentum is building from coast to coast to #SaveTheInternet. Now we need the *other* Washington to act and pass my CRA to restore #NetNeutrality when we force a vote in the Senate.\n\n#OneMoreVote\n\nhttps://t.co/9nVnin2M4D\u201d— Ed Markey (@Ed Markey) 1520296748
While open internet advocates welcomed the news from Washington, they continue to emphasize the need for action to protect the web on a national scale.
\u201cRetweet to spread the news. #NetNeutrality is here to stay. Tell your members of Congress to support the CRA to restore open Internet protections for everyone: https://t.co/S8d0OxZQe0\u201d— @email@example.com on Mastodon (@@firstname.lastname@example.org on Mastodon) 1520351122
Although this is the first state-level legislation enacted in response to the FCC rollback, the governors of Montana, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Vermont have responded with executive orders that require all ISPs that contract with state agencies to follow net neutrality principles.
As CNETnotes, the Washington law is "almost certainly going to face challenge from the federal government, as the FCC's vote in December approved a provision that prohibits states from enacting their own net neutrality rules."
Despite the FCC provision, "at least 25 other states are considering net neutrality bills, including California, Illinois, and New York," Wiredreports. "Both houses of Oregon's legislature have passed a bill that, like the executive orders, bans state agencies from doing business with broadband providers that don't follow net neutrality. Governor Kate Brown plans to sign it within 30 days."
\u201cBREAKING! Washington just became the first state to enact its own #NetNeutrality law, but dozens of other states are considering defying the FCC. Sign the petition calling on your governor and state legislators to fight for the free and open Internet! https://t.co/SCT45RZghr\u201d— @email@example.com on Mastodon (@@firstname.lastname@example.org on Mastodon) 1520346074
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