California along with Nebraska may challenge Federal Communications Commission’s attempts to officially preempt local state laws.
Nebraska and California state legislators have proposed new net neutrality laws which would effectively try to replace the nationwide ones that the Federal Communications Commission repealed a few weeks ago.
The Federal Communications Commission repealed all of the organization’s own net neutrality rules.
Moreover, the Federal Communications Commission also claimed the organization’s authority to go ahead and prevent local and state governments from coming up with and enacting their own set of net neutrality regulations and rules.
But Adam Moreld of Lincoln, a Democratic Senator, introduced a new Nebraska bill which would do exactly that.
The new Nebraska bill clearly stated that no internet service provider working in the United States of America which is engaged in the provision of mobile and/or fixed broadband internet access service would have the opportunity to degrade and/or impair lawful online internet traffic on the sole basis of service, application, content or the use of any non-harmful device which is subject to a reasonable network management.
To put it in simpler words, the new Nebraska bill will effectively ban all paid prioritization programs.
How does it define those paid prioritization programs?
Well, it defines paid prioritization as indirectly or directly favoring specific types of internet traffic over other type of internet traffic.
This definition basically includes the use of advanced techniques such as
- Resource reservation
- Traffic shaping
- Other types of preferential internet traffic management.
The bill would ban the above-mentioned techniques which internet service providers may engage in for monetary benefits as an exchange.
The bill would also take into account other types of considerations from third-party services.
Moreover, the new Nebraska bill would also ban internet service providers to benefit any affiliated entity in exchange for some reciprocal benefits.
The bill will allow internet service providers to engage in paid prioritization programs only when an internet service provider can demonstrate that the paid prioritization program would benefit the public.
But even then, the internet service provider will have to show that its paid prioritization program would not damage the open nature of the company’s internet service.
Support Which Is Bipartisan
Morfeld, while commenting on his bill, told reports that:
He found the amount of bipartisan support he managed to receive as surprising.
He said that, so far, he knew that he had a passion about this issue.
But even then, the amount of support he received came as a pleasant shock to him.
Many Republicans along with Libertarians and Democrats supported Morfeld’s Nebraska bill.
Morfeld talked more about his new Nebraska Bill with the Lincoln Journal Star.
To read the whole interview click here.
The new Nebraska bill isn’t going to change the politically divisive nature of issues such as net neutrality rules.
In other words, the net neutrality issue has divided the government.
It is also true that the New York Attorney general along with other states have started to work on a specific plan.
A plan to sue the Federal Communications Commission.
Kind of obvious.
For the organization’s decision to repeal federal net neutrality rules.
Attorney general from New York along with other states will try to reverse the Federal Communications Commission’s decision.
They will also look to reverse the organization’s decision to preempt any and all local net neutrality rules.
Of course, there is a chance that the lawsuit might fail.
For that eventuality, legislators from several states have crafted new net neutrality bills.
And they have designed these net neutrality bills in ways which would allow them to get around the Federal Communications Commission’s attempt to preempt local and state net neutrality laws.
Senator Scott Weiner, a Democrat from San Francisco also introduced a bill in California which would indirectly aim to enforce new net neutrality rules.
To take an example, Senator Scott Wiener’s new bill would officially require net neutrality regulation as an integral part of any cable franchise agreements.
The bill would require that as a condition on part of cable service providers for using the public’s right-of-way for internet infrastructure.
Scott Wiener’s bill will also condition any service providers right to attach broadband wireless communications and/or small cell to utility poles on strict adherence to the new net neutrality rules.
There are lots of other things that Wiener’s bill would seek to approve.
For example, the bill would, in order to effectuate net neutrality, utilize the state’s local market influence as the biggest purchaser of telecommunications and internet services.
The bill would also strengthen existing consumer protection rules and regulations.
Moreover, the California bill would allow come up with laws against unfair and deceptive businesses practices as a way to protect and support net neutrality rules.
Senator Kevin De Leon, a Democrat from Los Angeles, has also come up with a bill which would take a slightly more direct approach to the net neutrality issue.
It would simply ban internet service providers from engaging in activities such as,
- Paid prioritization
Then there is the legislative proposal from New York.
That proposal would strictly require local governments and state agencies to engage in business with only those internet service providers that make an effort to adhere to their net neutrality principles.
This is something that media reports have mentioned before as well.
Supporters of net neutrality rules are also considering to bring up more net neutrality bills in the Washington state legislature.
Response From The Federal Communications Commission
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission has released the organization’s official and final text related to the organization’s net neutrality repeal.
The Federal Communications Commission did that last Thursday.
In doing that it also set the stage clearly for all the lawsuits against the Federal Communications Commission.
A lobby group called The Internet Association, consisting of companies such as,
along with many other online businesses also pledged their support for all lawsuits filed against the Federal Communications Commission.
There is little doubt that attempts to enforce net neutrality rules on a state by state basis would take too much time.
Not to mention, it is also the less effective approach.
Ideally, net neutrality rules supporters should try to force the Federal Communications Commission to reinstate net neutrality federal rules.
But there is a problem with that as well.
Internet service providers that provide their services and do business in more than one state might be dissuaded.
Because if these internet service providers violate net neutrality rules in one part of their footprint that would mean that they would have violated net neutrality rules across all of their networks.
With that said, there is no harm in enforcing these net neutrality rules one state at a time either.
Democratic Senators Will Try To Restore Net Neutrality Rules
In fact, Democrats have actually managed to hit a rather key milestone in their quest to reverse the repeal of net neutrality rules.
Media reports say that around 30 senators have actually given their consent to support the net neutrality bill.
If Democrats can secure a similar number of votes in the coming future, they might as well be able to push for a vote on the net neutrality rules repeal.
Senate Democrats are trying their best to force an actual vote which would allow them to reinstate net neutrality rules.
The key milestone that they have hit just now should give them confidence.
A CRA (Congressional Review Act) resolution needed around 30 co-sponsors in order for it to qualify for a Senate vote.
This Congressional Review Act would, if approved, reverse Aji Pai’s Federal Communication Commission’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules.
Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, yesterday announced that she had actually signed the Congressional Review Act resolution.
That also meant that she had become the 30th co-sponsor that the resolution needed to pass for a Senator vote.
Senator Claire used her Twitter account to announce that the 30 was the magical numerical figure of cosponsors that they needed to force a net neutrality vote.
That vote would take place in the full US Senate, of course.
And by signing the resolution she was proud to have become the 30th co-sponsor of the bill.
As mentioned before, the bill will restore an open and free internet.
This is also a good time to mention that Senator Markey had initially introduced the bill.
Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, announced the Congressional Review Act resolution a short while after the Federal Communications Commission announced its repeal vote.
That was about a month ago.
Readers should also know that all 30 Senators who have supported the Congressional Review Act resolution belong to the Democratic caucus.
Markey also used his Twitter handle to announce that they had reached the 30 co-sponsors they needed in order to force a vote on his Congressional Review Act.
He also mentioned that the 30 count vote help them to reveal the repeal of net neutrality rules in the country.
Markey also said that the 30 count vote marked a big step for their party to towards restoring an open and free internet.
He further added that with the support of other senators, such as Claire, they now had the 30 co-sponsors they needed to force an actual vote.
Will The Bill Restore Net Neutrality Rules?
Short answer: no.
Long answer: unlikely.
In other words, Markey’s net neutrality bill on its own would not have the impact that is needed to restore net neutrality rules.
And yes, that holds true even after it has received its required 30 co-sponsors.
Moreover, some experts on the subject believe that this bill has little chance of overturning the net neutrality rules repeal.
Even if it passes via the Senate.
Why is that?
It will be impossible for anyone to force a vote in the House.
Republicans own the House with their larger majority.
But even then, if this bill passes the Senate and then passes the House, it still would not manage to repeal net neutrality rules.
Because of the President of the United States of America.
Donald Trump, the President of the United States of America, would likely use his powers to issue an official veto.
That will be enough to allow the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality repeal to not die.
And go forward into effect.
But still, that doesn’t mean net neutrality supporters should give up the fight.
Markey’s Congressional Review Act resolution could still come in real handy.
In order to get a Senate pass, the resolution will need all Democrats.
Along with that, the resolution will also need to Republicans.
If the above-mentioned numbers vote in favor of the resolution then it will pass the Senate.
As mentioned before, it wouldn’t do any good to net neutrality reporters because of President Trump.
And the fact that Republicans control the House.
But, still, an official vote in the Senate will help to keep the net neutrality vote alive.
And in the spotlight.
Needless to say, Democrats do need the net neutrality issue in the spotlight.
Reports that Democrats have made sufficient preparations to make the net neutrality repeal an official campaign matter/issue in the coming elections which are due in November.
At the time of writing this report, Democrats did not make an announcement whether they would try to move ahead and force a vote on the Congressional Review Act resolution from Markey.
But Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York and the United States Senate Minority Leader, recently promised that he would do everything in his power to make it happen.
A month ago, Schumer noted:
That any legislation which would reverse the net neutrality repeal did not really need the political support of the Senate majority leader.
And because of that fact, they could easily force a vote.
Readers should also know that this Congressional Review Act mechanism is exactly the method that Republicans used a year before.
Back then they wanted to eliminate some other Federal Communications Commission rules.
Rules which would have guaranteed protection for broadband customers’ privacy on the internet.
Ed Markey has done the right thing.
By launching one last scheme with which he would try to save the Internet.
The Internet as people of the United States of America know it today.
The Verge has also reported that Markey has indeed managed to gather enough support which would force the US Senate to vote.
But vote on what?
Vote on whether they want to accept the Federal Communications Commission’s new rules which come as a part of the Congressional Review Act.
The Senate can actually vote if they want to or don’t want to accept the Federal Communications Commission’s new rules.
The Congressional Review Act grants the Senate the power to nullify any recently passed rule and/or regulation.
All they have to do is secure a simple majority.
So what’s the next step then?
Markey must move forward and initiate the actual move.
This will hopefully prompt the US Senate to launch a debate and after that vote on the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality repeal.
As mentioned before:
Even if the Senate does decide to officially nullify the Federal Communications Commission’s new rules, Markey and the rest of the clan will have to wait for the resolution to go through the House of Representatives as well.
As indicated earlier, the resolution has to pass the House of Representatives.
After that, it is just a matter of Donald Trump passing the resolution.
Which, of course, will never happen.
Donald Trump has the final say if the FCC can repeal net neutrality rules or not.
But all of this shows one thing:
There are still people in the United States federal government who are working hard.
And looking out for all the people of the United States of America.
Whether the resolution passes or not, that has to count for something.