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House votes to restore net neutrality rules

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to restore net neutrality protections that were repealed by President Donald Trump's...

Posted: Apr 11, 2019 6:04 AM

The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill to restore net neutrality protections that were repealed by President Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission in a controversial move more than a year ago.

The bill, called the Save the Internet Act, would reinstate protections that require internet service providers to treat all online content the same. Providers would once again be explicitly prohibited from blocking, speeding up, or slowing down access to specific online services.

Its passage represents a victory for Democrats, technology companies and consumer advocacy groups who have loudly protested the FCC's repeal of the rules, but it may only be a symbolic victory. The bill must also pass the Republican-controlled Senate and be approved by President Trump.

On Monday, the White House said it "strongly opposes" the bill, signaling that President Trump would veto it. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday the bill was "dead on arrival in the Senate."

"This legislation is a big-government solution in search of a problem," Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC, said in a statement after the bill's passage Wednesday. "The Internet is free and open, while faster broadband is being deployed across America. This bill should not and will not become law."

The latest legislative effort comes amid a legal showdown over the repeal. A collection of tech companies, advocacy groups and nearly two dozen states sued the FCC last year to challenge the repeal. Oral arguments in the case, Mozilla versus the FCC, were heard in February.

A number of states, including California, Washington and Vermont, pushed forward with their own net neutrality rules, despite the FCC asserting authority to prevent states from pursuing laws inconsistent with the net neutrality repeal. Some agreed not to enforce the laws pending the outcome of the Mozilla case.

"Net Neutrality is now one step closer to being reinstated as the law of the land," Gigi Sohn, a counselor to former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler and a staunch supporter of net neutrality, said in a statement Wednesday.

The net neutrality rules were first approved by the FCC in 2015, during the Obama administration, and were intended to keep the internet open and fair. The Republican-led FCC voted to repeal the protections in late 2017.

In the absence of an explicit ban on these actions, providers are required to publicly disclose any instance of blocking, throttling or paid prioritization. It will then be evaluated based on whether or not the activity is anti-competitive.

The concern among net neutrality advocates is that the repeal risks giving internet providers too much control over how online content is delivered. It may also make it harder for the next generation of online services to compete if they have to pay up to be placed in a so-called internet fast lane.

"Simply put, large corporations should not be in charge of deciding what Americans see online," Rep. Jim McGovern, a Democrat and chairman of the House Rules Committee, said at a hearing on Monday. "A free and open internet is a critical part of enabling free speech and allowing our digital economy to thrive."

Conservative groups and Republican lawmakers pushed back against the attempt to undo the net neutrality repeal, arguing that it would grant the government too much control over the internet. The Trump administration said the bill would "return to the heavy-handed regulatory approach of the previous administration."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 1799
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Multnomah28237458
Washington18512171
Marion16085238
Clackamas11577138
Lane8219108
Jackson686284
Umatilla670968
Deschutes490736
Yamhill316245
Malheur312452
Linn310246
Klamath242238
Polk241340
Josephine170633
Jefferson168725
Benton168414
Douglas166643
Union110416
Wasco106323
Columbia103318
Lincoln98517
Hood River94821
Coos93315
Morrow92710
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Crook60410
Baker5665
Tillamook3622
Curry3185
Lake2295
Grant2131
Harney1734
Wallowa963
Gilliam481
Sherman470
Wheeler201
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California Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 2955323

Reported Deaths: 33342
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles100392313741
San Bernardino2482851560
Riverside2352352517
San Diego2098972065
Orange2093652320
Santa Clara914661060
Kern83547558
Sacramento802791080
Fresno79950932
Alameda65679757
Ventura59061412
San Joaquin56484748
Contra Costa50627430
Stanislaus41925739
Tulare40176501
Monterey34959249
San Mateo31291294
San Francisco28574254
Imperial24944463
Solano24654105
Santa Barbara23538228
Merced23492296
Sonoma23204234
Kings18661110
Placer16761173
San Luis Obispo15129128
Madera12883130
Santa Cruz11776113
Marin11345153
Yolo10240131
Shasta9594117
Butte9233121
El Dorado751544
Sutter748477
Napa723139
Lassen509413
San Benito485043
Yuba481827
Tehama397142
Tuolumne330438
Nevada309973
Mendocino307631
Amador295329
Lake243428
Humboldt226324
Glenn182419
Colusa16919
Calaveras153823
Siskiyou140813
Mono10834
Inyo92429
Del Norte8472
Plumas5735
Modoc3783
Mariposa3434
Trinity3024
Alpine730
Sierra700
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