Washington Governor Signs Legally Dubious Net Neutrality Bill

Paul Tong  Op-Art

The FCC's new rules are not expected to go into effect until later this spring.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may have repealed net neutrality in a controversial vote a year ago, but the rules protecting the internet's freedom aren't going down without a fight.

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 Jay Inslee of Washington State signed a bill into law which counteracts the federal net neutrality rules passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Today Washington state became the first state in the U.S.to sign a bill to protect an open internet.

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"We feel very confident in our position", Inslee said. Nevertheless, consumers across the political spectrum were angered by the FCC's vote to repeal the rules, with many expressing concerns that the end of net neutrality could dampen free speech, lead to higher costs for consumers and allow ISPs to decide what services they use on the web.

Washington's new law may not hold up in court, if challenged by broadband providers.When the FCC voted to repeal the net neutrality rules, it also voted to block states from passing their own versions of the regulations. Under the 2015 rules, no internet service provider (ISP) could discriminate against any online content to favor another, for example, by throttling or speeding up traffic. "The courts need to hear from the people who will be harmed the most under the FCC's unprecedented attack on net neutrality". OR actually passed a similar state legislation protecting net neutrality earlier in 2018. Washington state's measure will take effect in mid-June.

In the meantime, Washingtonians should benefit from special net-neutrality protections in a bill introduced by state Rep.

"This is not a partisan issue", Norma Smith, a Republican who co-sponsored the bill in the House, said in a statement last month. "Without it, the free and equal exchange of ideas is at risk". In fact, lawmakers in some two dozen states have introduced bills similar to Washington's, while numerous governors, including those that serve in NY and Montana, have signed executive actions that prevent ISPs with state contracts from blocking or slowing data. That's fine. But we know it's a joke. We are also very proud that OR is about to get a similar (albeit narrower) law.

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