February 11, 2019

Net Neutrality 2019

This thing isn’t over

by Chris Thomas

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

There are few issues as near and dear to the Resistbot community as Net Neutrality. Our users are both politically and digitally savvy, so they know what’s at stake and the fight ahead of them.

And, let’s be honest, the road so far has been a bumpy one. But this thing isn’t over yet.

American Democracy is a federalist system. That means that this debate doesn’t have to be settled just because the Verizon corporation and its minions have control of the FCC. There are fifty state governments with fifty legislatures and fifty governors that the Constitution empowers to make their own rules about how data will be bought, sold, and treated in each of their states.

And Resistbot now has the ability to help you hold them accountable. Send state to the ‘bot and it’ll walk you through the process of giving your state’s upper and lower legislative chambers (and governor) a piece of your mind.

Expectations Management

Before we dive into the Net Neutrality bills on the docket in 2019 let’s take a moment to consider where we are in this fight. The FCC abdicated its responsibility to a neutral internet back in 2017. In the time since then, the states where Net Neutrality enjoyed wide-spread support drafted and passed Net Neutrality laws of their own. California, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington lead a pack of nine states challenging the FCC’s ruling.

And that means that states considering legislation in 2019 are ones where the issue is much more contentious. These are long-shot bills and many of them will be voted down by state legislatures or die quietly in committee… but forcing the issue to the forefront of political debate is valuable in and of itself. The internet wasn’t built in a day and the legislation that will protect it won’t happen all at once either.

2019 Net Neutrality Bills

If Net Neutrality is your issue and you live in any of the following states, you currently have legislation before your government which can help protect a neutral internet. Legislation listing sourced here.

Colorado

SB19–078: Open Internet Customer Protections In Colorado.
02/11/2019: In the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs

Connecticut

HB 5016: An Act Requiring Internet Service Providers That Are State Contractors To Adopt A Net Neutral Policy
01/9/2019: Referred to Joint Committee on Energy and Technology

SB 6: An Act Concerning Net Neutrality Principles and Internet Privacy 02/15/2019: Public Hearing scheduled for 02/19/2019

Hawaii

SB 253 — Requires transparency and neutral networking from broadband service providers
2/22/2019: Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health to vote on 02/26/2019

Kentucky

HB 9 — Requires neutral internet policies and bans data caps for broadband providers that make use of “KentuckyWired”
01/10/19: Referred to House Small Business & Information Technology Committee

Maryland

HB 141 — Regulates how broadband providers are allowed to use/share customer data and prevents state funds from being used for non-neutral internet services
01/21/2019: Referred to House Economic Matters Committee [Ed: Bill appears dead]

Minnesota

HF 136/SF 317/SF 209 — Prohibits certain activities by internet service providers serving Minnesota customers. Includes coverage of edge providers and bans paid prioritization
02/18/2019: H137 passed House Commerce Committee. Move on to Government Operations Committee.

Missouri

HB 625 — Establishes provisions for net neutrality
HB 391 — Requires broadband providers observe net neutrality provisions and bans paid prioritization unless it provides “some significant public interest benefit and [does] not impede the open access of the internet”
01/23/2019: Bills not scheduled for future hearings nor on any House calendar. [Ed: Presumed dead.]

New Hampshire

HB 132 — Relative to net neutrality [Status]
01/30/2019: Pending hearing before House Science, Technology and Energy Committee

New Jersey

SR 49 — Urges AG to join appeal to review FCC’s order concerning “net neutrality” for being contrary to law
AB 3339 — Requires cable television companies to provide cable television service and broadband internet speed to all committed service areas before cable television companies allow paid prioritization of internet network traffic
AB 2139 — “Requires cable television company to commit to principle of ‘net neutrality’” in certain cases
AB 2132/SB 1802 — “ Prohibits awarding of public contracts to Internet service providers, unless Internet service providers adhere to principle of ‘net neutrality’”
AB 2131/SB 2458 — “Prohibit[s] Internet service providers from installing broadband telecommunications infrastructure on certain poles or underground facilities unless [they] adhere to principle of ‘net neutrality’”
AB 1767/SB 1577 — The “New Jersey Net Neutrality Act”

[Ed: Some of these bills look really old, but New Jersey has a very long legislative session so they’re still live.]

New Mexico

SB 233 — Broadband Access Unfair Trade Practices
01/17/2019: Sent to Senate Corporations & Transportation Committee

New York

SB 1508/AB 2008 — Requires state agencies and authorities to enter into contracts only with service providers that adhere to net neutrality principles
02/19/2019: Amended and recommitted to committee

AB 1555 — “Relates to establishing a commission to study and report on the potential implementation of legislation, rules and regulations for an open internet for New Yorkers”
01/15/2019: Referred to governmental operations committee

AB 138 — Relates to state contracts being only with internet service providers compliant with net neutrality
01/09/2019: Referred to corporations, authorities and commissions committee

Rhode Island

SB 40 — An Act Relating To Public Utilities and Carriers — Internet Service Providers — Net Neutrality [Ed: Non-government link, sorry]
__01/16/2019: Introduced & referred to Senate Commerce Committee

South Carolina

HB 3342 — South Carolina Net Neutrality Preservation Act
HB 3440 — South Carolina Net Neutrality Protection and Maintenance Act
01/8/2019: House Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce and Industry

Virginia

HB 1755 — Broadband services; prohibited features
02/05/2019: Bill officially dead in House Commerce and Labor Committee

West Virginia

HB 2325 — Relating to Net Neutrality for State Government
01/11/2019: Referred to House Political Subdivisions Committee

Tell your state government what you think!

Net Neutrality is the critical First Amendment issue of the 21st century and these are the bills before the various states which will defend it. Even if your state isn’t on above list you can push your state government to adopt measures like the above. Send the word state to Resistbot to write your State Senators, Delegates/Representatives, and Governor. As always, you can write to Congress about this or any other topic by sending the word Resist to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or as a Twitter direct message. If none of those work for you, Resistbot also supports old fashioned SMS: text RESIST to 50409 to get started. It takes 2 minutes to have your say.

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