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Oregon net neutrality pushed by lawsuit, petition, bill

By Oregon Small Business Association

Net neutrality is intended to insert government into internet broadband decisions by forbidding broadband providers from placing costs or controls on heavy-users of their own lines.    Net neutrality has been a free ride for internet intensive services like Netflix and Amazon at the expense of telecommunication companies.    The unfairness of the rule led the Trump administration pushed to get rid of the Federal Communication Commission’s rules requiring net neutrality and the FCC repealed net neutrality rules in December.

Since then, chaos has not broken loose on the internet. But attorneys general have filed suit to keep net neutrality.

A group called Oregonians for Net Neutrality has started gathering signatures for an initiative to enforce net neutrality in the state. Initiatives need nearly 90,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.  Rep. Jennifer Williamson, D-Portland, announced that she will add net neutrality to a bill [2] about online privacy she had introduced last year.

Oregon is one of several states considering their own net neutrality legislation, but legal scholars and the FCC say federal law takes priority [3]; and courts have ruled repeatedly that federal law and FCC regulations take precedence in telecommunications.

Meanwhile, Oregon is one of 21 states suing to overturn the FCC’s new rules [4]. And Democrats say they’re close to having enough Senate votes to reinstitute net neutrality rules [5]. That’s a symbolic effort, though, because there aren’t enough votes in the House to overturn the rules or overturn a presidential veto.

Net neutrality may or may not be a great idea, but Oregon should not do something that clearly violates the federal government’s authority to regulate telecommunications. Any Oregon law is more than likely to be struck down in court.

The Oregon efforts may grab attention, sending a signal to Washington, but an Oregon net-neutrality law is unlikely to succeed.