Smith introduces bill to enforce net neutrality in Washington state

Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, has introduced legislation that would give the Office of Attorney General the authority to enforce net neutrality in Washington state. Net neutrality rules were approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2015, but are set to be repealed under new FCC chairman Ajit Pai. Pai was appointed to the position by President Trump earlier this year.

Under House Bill 2284, the following practices would be prohibited under the state’s Consumer Protection Act:

  • Blocking content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices;
  • Impairing or degrading (“throttling”) traffic on the basis of content, application, service, or use of non-harmful devices; and
  • Favoring some traffic over other traffic in exchange for benefit (“paid prioritization”).

For its part, Broadband for America, a coalition of the nation’s largest internet service providers (ISPs), says it stands by an open internet and will “always” practice net neutrality. However, Smith says those assurances are not good enough.

“We are going to hold these companies accountable to their promises by preserving and enforcing net neutrality rules in Washington state,” said Smith. “It is our job to stand up for our constituents and defend them against harmful policies, no matter where they originate from. This is not a partisan issue. The repeal of existing net neutrality rules would threaten fairness and freedom on the internet, and would make it harder for entrepreneurs and small business owners to compete in the global marketplace. The only way to mitigate this threat is to put these rules into statute so everyone across the state, regardless of their ZIP code, can participate equally in the 21st century economy.”

On Wednesday, Smith unveiled her bill at a joint press conference on net neutrality with Gov. Jay Inslee, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Sen. Manka Dhingra, Rep. Drew Hansen, and others.

The 2018 legislative session will begin Jan. 8 and run for 60 consecutive days.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov