Oregon is on the verge of joining a growing list of states that are stepping up to protect the free flow of information online in the wake of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal “net neutrality” protections.
The state Senate’s Rules Committee endorsed a net neutrality bill Thursday afternoon, setting up a floor vote before the legislature’s scheduled adjournment this weekend. The legislation already has passed the House and has the support of Gov. Kate Brown.
Washington state lawmakers passed net neutrality legislation on Tuesday with bipartisan support. Their bill would block internet service providers (ISPs) in the state from blocking content or creating “fast” and “slow” lanes for moving information through their networks.
"Today's action in Oregon, on the heels of the Washington state vote for net neutrality earlier this week, demonstrates the growing momentum nationwide for protecting the free flow of information online,” said Yosef Getachew, director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “Lawmakers in the nation's capital should take notice and act promptly on a resolution to block the FCC's repeal of net neutrality protections."
Public opinion polls indicate overwhelming popular support for maintaining net neutrality protections.
The Oregon bill would require state and local governments to do business only with ISPs that observe net neutrality protections. Essentially, that means the providers must not move information from some websites faster than they move that of others.
The FCC mandated net neutrality in 2015, but with the election of President Trump and his appointment of Ajit Pai as FCC chair, the commission has moved to repeal the rules and give ISP’s more leeway to create “fast” and “slow” lanes for online traffic.
In the nation’s capital, net neutrality supporters, including Common Cause, believe they’re within one vote of securing a Senate majority for a resolution to block the FCC action. They ran a national “day of action” on Tuesday, including emails, phone calls and other constituent contacts with centrist Republican lawmakers in an effort to pry loose a 51st vote.
While apparently one vote away from a Senate majority, the resolution faces a tougher challenge in the Republican-controlled House.
Issues: Media and Democracy
Tags: Net Neutrality