States propose bills to preserve net neutrality

The next stage in the battle over regulating the internet could take the form of a legal showdown between states and ...

Posted: Jan 6, 2018 3:32 PM
Updated: Jan 6, 2018 3:32 PM

The next stage in the battle over regulating the internet could take the form of a legal showdown between states and the federal government.

A growing number of Democratic state legislators are proposing bills to preserve net neutrality rules within their borders, following the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission's vote to repeal the protections last month.

Lawmakers in states like New York, Washington and Massachusetts have proposed bills in recent weeks to enforce the principles of net neutrality, which are intended to keep the internet open.

This week, California legislators followed suit by proposing two separate bills to establish net neutrality protections.

"We won't let the Trump-led FCC dismantle our right to a free and open internet," Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat representing San Francisco, said in a statement introducing one of the bills. "We won't let them create a system where internet providers can favor web sites and services based on who pays more money."

Related: The end of net neutrality: What it all means

The net neutrality rules, first approved by the FCC in 2015, require internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to treat all online content the same. Providers are barred from deliberately speeding up or slowing down traffic from specific websites, and from putting their own content at an advantage over rivals.

The FCC's decision to overturn these protections has been championed by the telecom industry, but widely criticized by technology companies and consumer advocacy groups.

Given the broad disapproval for the repeal, particularly in blue states, lawmakers may find traction with the bills to preserve net neutrality. If successful, however, this local legislation could hit a legal wall.

A spokeswoman for the FCC directed CNNMoney to a section of the final order for net neutrality, in which the FCC asserts authority to prevent states from pursuing laws inconsistent with the net neutrality repeal.

"We conclude that we should exercise our authority to preempt any state or local requirements that are inconsistent with the federal deregulatory approach we adopt today," according to the final order.

In the section, the FCC also stresses that the burden placed on internet service providers by forcing them to "comply with a patchwork of separate and potentially conflicting requirements" across the country.

Jim Speta, a law professor at Northwestern, says U.S. courts have previously upheld the FCC's ability to preempt state regulations concerning the telecommunications market. These rulings "do provide a basis for the FCC's action to preempt state and local net neutrality," he told CNNMoney.

Even before the recent wave of bill proposals, states appeared to be on a collision course with the federal government on this issue.

The attorneys general of several states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Minnesota, have announced their intention to sue to challenge the FCC's net neutrality repeal.

More than a dozen attorneys general had previously called for the FCC to delay the vote, citing concerns about fraudulent comments filed with the FCC as part of a public feedback period about the proposed net neutrality rollback.

The states will receive some tech support, too. The Internet Association, a trade group representing internet companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, said Thursday it intended to join the upcoming legal fight to preserve net neutrality.

"Either on the appeal from this order or in a suit directly challenging a state or local law establishing net neutrality," Speta says "I think it a certainty that the courts will be asked to decide the question."

There is still time, however. An FCC official told CNNMoney in December that it could take up to "several months" for the net neutrality repeal to be formally approved by the Office of Management and Budget. Until then, the old rules remain in place.

Lafayette
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 47°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 46°
Rensselaer
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
Lafayette
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 47°
Danville
Clear
42° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 39°
Frankfort
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 40°
Frankfort
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 40°
Monticello
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 41°
Monticello
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 41°
Logansport
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
Rather Dry, Windy Forecast
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 700775

Reported Deaths: 13167
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion956451709
Lake51038935
Allen38781670
Hamilton34153404
St. Joseph33552538
Elkhart26950431
Vanderburgh21987393
Tippecanoe21560212
Johnson17387373
Porter17124297
Hendricks16690309
Clark12628190
Madison12271337
Vigo12126243
Monroe11302166
LaPorte10716204
Delaware10271184
Howard9590211
Kosciusko9037113
Hancock7896139
Bartholomew7824153
Warrick7665155
Floyd7526176
Wayne6865197
Grant6753168
Boone651099
Morgan6356138
Dubois6060117
Marshall5729108
Cass5662102
Dearborn566175
Henry5554100
Noble535583
Jackson490769
Shelby476095
Lawrence4322118
Gibson426188
Harrison425770
Montgomery415586
Clinton414753
DeKalb404883
Huntington375180
Whitley373939
Miami370865
Knox364689
Steuben360757
Putnam351460
Wabash345777
Jasper343746
Adams337452
Ripley332868
Jefferson307479
White306654
Daviess288299
Wells284480
Decatur278592
Fayette276962
Greene269385
Posey268033
Scott259053
Clay251544
LaGrange250170
Randolph234179
Washington229629
Spencer227331
Jennings224247
Fountain207445
Sullivan207341
Starke200352
Owen191056
Fulton190039
Jay185329
Carroll184820
Perry178936
Orange176152
Rush169824
Vermillion165643
Franklin165135
Tipton160843
Parke143616
Blackford132431
Pike129834
Pulaski112845
Newton102834
Brown99340
Crawford96914
Benton95313
Martin82215
Warren78815
Switzerland7698
Union69510
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events