Gov. Inslee signs nations first state net-neutrality bill

07 March, 2018, 00:06 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • Washington becomes first state to pass net neutrality law after FCC repeal

Washington on Monday became the first state in the union to approve its own net neutrality law following the Federal Communications Commission's dismantling of the controversial Obama-era regulations a year ago.

"This is not a partisan issue", Republican representative Norma Smith, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said in an earlier statement.

"At the core of our action today is consumer protection", Inslee told The New York Times "States need to act because under the Trump administration, we have seen citizens, including seven million in Washington, stripped of core protections like the open internet".

Residents of Washington State are getting so-called net neutrality rules back, with the nation's first state law that prevents internet service providers from blocking and slowing down content online. "This is about preserving a fair and free internet so all Washingtonians can participate equally in the 21st century economy".

The preemption clause in the FCC's net neutrality repeal means Washington state may face legal challenges to the new law.

As a longtime advocate for a free and open internet for all, I have consistently supported net neutrality, which provides a level playing field for small businesses and entrepreneurs to compete, while simultaneously protecting consumers from exorbitant fees for faster service. The repeal will officially end these restrictions by April 23.

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While several states introduced similar measures this year seeking to protect net neutrality, so far only OR and Washington have passed legislation. For example, it's quite evident that federal laws supersede state legislation.

But Hansen believes that the FCC relinquished its authority over net neutrality rules by rescinding them nationally. Furthermore, as WIRED previously pointed out, an argument can be made against the FCC for violating federal laws that prohibit agencies from setting up "arbitrary and capricious" regulations.

Because the FCC prohibited state laws from contradicting its decision, opponents of the Washington law have said it would lead to lawsuits.

"We've led the world in commercial airlines, we've led the world in software, and today we're leading the world in net neutrality", Inslee said during the bill signing ceremony Monday.

States' ability to regulate broadband companies is generally pre-empted by federal rules.



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