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.”
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.
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