State of Washington first to enforce net neutrality rules

Just as the FCC has published new rules that nullify consumer net neutrality protections, Washington is looking to restore them with a state law.

Governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2282 on Monday. It provides the following stipulations for internet service providers serving the state under non-emergency operations:

A person engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service in Washington state, insofar as the person is so engaged, may not:

(a) Block lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, subject to reasonable network management;

(b) Impair or degrade lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, application, or service, or use of a nonharmful device […;] or

(c) Engage in paid prioritization.

Violations of these rules would be enforced under the state’s Consumer Protection Act.

The bill, which passed both houses of the legislature with bipartisan support, is to come into effect within 90 days of signing or at the same time as the FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom Order” does. Most of the order’s rules as published are to take effect on April 23 — one of those rules is that state rules cannot supersede the order.

“We know that when D.C. fails to act, Washington state has to do so,” Inslee said at the bill’s signing ceremony.

Other parties, such as state attorneys general, are looking to trigger litigation against the FCC. The US Senate is considering a vote to overturn the FCC’s ruling. This law could also trigger lawsuits against Washington state.

The Associated Press reports that Oregon also has legislation affirming the principles of net neutrality but it can only regulate what services the government can buy. Five other state governors have signed executive orders on the general topic.

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Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.