Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does”
This past June, my colleague Mary Chastain noted that the internet was still working after the Trump administration ended Obama-era “net neutrality” rules with the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order.
However, tinkering with working systems until they no longer function is a feature of the California state legislature, so it created its own “net neutrality” rules that were recently signed into law. This action triggered the Trump administration to file a lawsuit to stop the implementation.
Gov. Jerry Brown has restored net neutrality rules in California that were repealed under the Trump administration, setting up a legal battle with the federal government over whether states can prevent companies from blocking access to the internet.
The ambitious new law, which was signed by Brown late Sunday and takes effect Jan. 1, prohibits broadband and wireless companies from blocking, throttling or otherwise hindering access to internet content, and from favoring some websites over others by charging for faster speeds. It prompted a quick and aggressive response from Trump administration officials, who have sued to block the regulations.
“Under the Constitution, states do not regulate interstate commerce — the federal government does,” Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions said in a statement issued Sunday. “Once again the California legislature has enacted an extreme and illegal state law attempting to frustrate federal policy.”
Unsurprisingly, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is backing the federal lawsuit, as he has already declared the move illegal. He is not the only one unhappy with California’s legislative antics.
Other organizations opposed California taking net neutrality into its own hands, including Jonathan Spalter, president and CEO of the U.S. Telecom Association.
“Rather than 50 states stepping in with their own conflicting open internet solutions, we need Congress to step up with a national framework for the whole internet ecosystem and resolve this issue once and for all,” Spalter said in a statement.
Other blue states have instituted similar measures:
Three states — Oregon, Washington and Vermont — passed their own net neutrality bills ahead of California, though none of them were as strict. The California law prevents broadband providers from slowing down or blocking websites, as well as charging higher fees for faster speeds. It also limits some zero-rated data plans.
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