Washington state has passed laws protecting net neutrality

Paul Tong  Op-Art

"We feel very confident in our position", Inslee said. "It allows a student in Washington to connect to researchers all around the world, or a small business to compete with large businesses in the global marketplace". The New York Times reported tech companies Etsy, Foursquare, and Kickstarter have also filed suits on Monday.

The measure, slated to take effect by June 6, prohibits broadband providers that operate in the state from blocking or throttling traffic and from charging companies higher fees for prioritized delivery.

Here is a summary of the bill as provided by nonpartisan staff in the House.

The bill reads, "A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service in Washington state...may not: Block lawful content, applications, services or nonharmful devices, subject to network management; impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic; engage in paid prioritization". Taking a more solid legal approach are the governors of New York, New Jersey, Vermont, and Montana, who all have issued executive orders requiring internet service providers contracting with the state to follow the Obama-era net neutrality rules. Washington state has stepped up to become the first to fully thumb its nose to the FCC by passing its own Net Neutrality protections. Violations would be enforceable under the state's Consumer Protection Act. Only five Republicans voted nay in the House, and only fourteen voted nay in the Senate.

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The FCC's two remaining Democratic members (Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel) were the only commissioners to listen to the people. "Without it, the free and equal exchange of ideas is at risk".

But the law is on shaky legal footing.

Although the FCC is in the process of rescinding the rule, most Americans are in favor of net neutrality. That aspect of the Pai FCC order may now be litigated on multiple fronts. "This is about preserving a fair and free internet so all Washingtonians can participate equally in the 21st century economy".

Indeed we do. Keep up this important fight. "Washington lawmakers are helping make sure that remains true".

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