Published: Thu, January 18, 2018
Science | By Eileen Rhodes

Chin joins multistate lawsuit on net neutrality

Chin joins multistate lawsuit on net neutrality

Led by Eric Schneiderman, the ticket-bot-fighting top lawyer from NY, nearly half the states in the union and the District of Columbia are calling on federal appeals court in Washington to review the FCC's proposed rules.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has argued that net neutrality reform will help healthcare sectors like telemedicine that rely on high-speed internet by allowing broadband providers to prioritize services.

Schneiderman said that Pai's new rule fails to justify the FCC's long-standing policy of defending net neutrality and disregards critical evidence on how businesses and consumers would be harmed by the change.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia have added their names to the filing. It certainly hasn't helped that numerous objections to net neutrality involve completely false talking points about investment (it didn't drop) or how the new rules gave the FCC control over what ISPs charge. Senate Democrats are now calling for one more Republican to join their cause. The states also challenge the decision, stating that it violates the Constitution and the Communications Act of 1934.

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.

As noted by The Verge, this is the first major attempt to reverse the FCC's decision (outside of a Senate CRA).

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But that effort to enact a congressional resolution of disapproval faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House and a near-certain veto by President Trump. Only one more Republican vote is needed to secure the bill's passage. These states all have Democratic attorney generals, according to Ars Technica, meaning the decision continues to play out along party lines. The struggle to preserve net neutrality is still alive and well, however.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the petition states, the FCC can not make "arbitrary and capricious" changes to existing policies, such as net neutrality.

Democrats have chose to attempt to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to nullify the repeal of net neutrality, and they are surprisingly close to making it through the Senate.

As CNET reports, the two net neutrality lawsuits have been filed prematurely.

Although the FCC's abdication invites states to wade in, no one should be eager for a patchwork of state neutrality rules.

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