A New York state legislator has proposed a net neutrality law in one of the latest state-level challenges to the repeal of federal net neutrality rules.
The Federal Communications Commission last week voted to repeal its own net neutrality rules and to preempt states from issuing their own net neutrality laws.
New York Assemblymember Patricia Fahy, a Democrat who represents Albany, thinks she has a way to pass a net neutrality law without violating the FCC’s attempt at preemption. Her bill, as reported in Fast Company yesterday, “requires the state government, state agencies, and local governments (including New York City) to do business only with ISPs that adhere to net neutrality principles of no-blocking or slowing down access to any legal content.” The bill (full text here) would treat paid prioritization in the same way.
“If you are going to be a contractor and want to work with New York, then you must meet the principles,” Fahy told Fast Company. There is plenty of precedent for states to impose requirements that companies must meet in order to win government contracts, she noted.
Multiple states look to save net neutrality
In a separate effort, a few New York state senators are working on net neutrality legislation, the Fast Company article said. There are also net neutrality bills being introduced in states including Washington and California.
Meanwhile, state attorneys general from New York, Washington, and elsewhere plan to sue the FCC to overturn the net neutrality repeal and the related preemption of state laws. States planning to sue the FCC to reinstate net neutrality rules also include Massachusetts, Illinois, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Delaware. Iowa and Connecticut might join the lawsuit against the FCC as well.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s staff says that state and local laws must be preempted if they conflict with the US government’s policy of deregulating broadband Internet service and that states and other localities do not have jurisdiction over broadband because it is an interstate service. But the FCC’s preemption powers are limited, as seen last year when an FCC decision to preempt state laws that restrict the expansion of municipal broadband was struck down by a federal appeals court. State attorneys general will argue that the FCC overstepped its authority in the net neutrality repeal.