New Mexico AG joins effort to keep net neutrality rules in places

The Senate has votes on push to overrule net neutrality

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been a leader in the fight to protect net neutrality, and has cosponsored legislation to prohibit multi-tiered pricing agreements between ISPs and content providers. However, the FCC's order bars state laws from contradicting the federal government's approach.

The net neutrality rules were dismantled in a December vote led by Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Joining Attorney General Becerra in filing the lawsuit were the Attorneys General of New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai'i, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.

"Allowing powerful special interest to act as the internet's gatekeepers harms consumers, innovation and small businesses", said Attorney General Bob Ferguson. The bill faces an uphill battle to say the least. Antitrust attorney David Balto says the courts have generally shown deference to agencies to set regulations as long as they provide adequate explanations.

The Open Technology Institute has joined Public Knowledge to make sure the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has at least a couple of ping pong balls in a potential lottery to see where the appeal of the Restoring Internet Freedom order is heard. The different suits may also be consolidated. The vote probably won't happen for a few months.

One more senator is needed to pass that resolution.

The Congressional Review Act, which has been spearheaded by Democrats, has attracted 50 Supporters, including all 49 Democrats and Susan Collins, R-Maine. The measure requires a simple majority to pass, which means just one more Senate Republican will have to vote in favor of it for it to proceed.

ISPs have argued that complying with a patchwork of different state rules could prove hard, though that's probably something they should have considered before they lobbied to destroy modest and popular federal protections.

Regarding the rollback, Dr. Lynne Grewe, associate professor of computer science at Cal State East Bay, said, "At the consumer level there is fear that "tiered" internet service levels will develop where people pay more to stream certain content or consumers in rural areas will be forced to pay more for internet access". The struggle to preserve net neutrality is still alive and well, however. As of last Friday, California, Washington, New York, Rhode Island, Nebraska and MA have all introduced some form of net neutrality legislation.

Although there is new grassroots support for net neutrality bills within state halls across the country, legislation will still be met with obstacles.

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