Nebraska Becomes the First Red State to Introduce Net Neutrality Bill After FCC Scrapped Federal Rules
The Cornhusker State joins New York, California, Washington, and Massachusetts in considering net neutrality rules to replace the scrapped federal legislation.
Demonstrators at a pro-net neutrality rally last fall. Image: Courtesy Free Press
The effort to revive net neutrality is full steam ahead after the Federal Communications Commission repealed federal rules last month. Even reliably red state Nebraska is bucking the GOP-led decision by introducing a bill to recreate net neutrality rules at the state level.
On Friday, Democratic state Senator Adam Morfeld introduced a bill to adopt the Internet Neutrality Act: legislation that would codify the basics of net neutrality, including prohibiting internet service providers from throttling speeds or blocking content. Morfeld told his local paper, the Lincoln Journal Star, that the bill already had bipartisan support.
“I knew I was passionate about it, but I was shocked at the support I received from Republicans, from Democrats and Libertarians,” Morfeld said.
Nebraska joins California, New York, Washington, and Massachusetts as the latest state to start considering local legislation to replace the federal rules the FCC scrapped. This is in spite of the fact that the FCC’s decision includes language that “preempts” states from creating their own net neutrality rules.
These state-level efforts are just one prong in the effort to restore net neutrality. At the federal level, Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) is leading the charge to introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act.
To get the resolution to the floor for a vote, Markey needs the support of 29 other senators—as of publication, he already has 28. He’ll also have to wait for the FCC to publish its final rules in the Federal Register, but from there it needs only a simple majority to pass the Senate and move on to the House for consideration. If it passes both chambers (and, somehow, gets approved by the president), this would null the FCC’s vote and restore the original federal net neutrality rules to effect.
There are also multiple lawsuits that have been filed in response to the FCC’s decision. A trade group that represents dozens of American tech companies, including Google, Amazon, and Facebook, announced last week that it was joining one of these lawsuits, and many other groups have already declared intention to file suits.
In short: this fight is far from over, and those who support net neutrality are using every tool available to try to reject the FCC’s decision.