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Bill Seeks Net Neutrality for Oregon Vendors

Attorneys general in 22 states, including Oregon, are suing to reverse the FCC's decision on net neutrality. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Attorneys general in 22 states, including Oregon, are suing to reverse the FCC's decision on net neutrality. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
February 19, 2018

SALEM, Ore. — A bill in the state House aims to restore net neutrality as a priority in Oregon after the Federal Communications Commission repealed the policy late last year.

House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson said she will add a net neutrality amendment to House Bill 4155, legislation to stop internet service providers from sharing or selling customers' personal information. But can the state implement net neutrality on its own?

Opponents say the federal ruling takes precedence over state laws in this case. Williamson said she's been careful with the language in this amendment, and that it doesn't directly regulate internet providers.

"If you contract with the State of Oregon, you have to certify that you follow net neutral policies, so that the internet is free and open,” Williamson said. “And it's our hope that by using the buying power of the state, we can help to ensure that Oregonians will have a free and open internet."

HB 4155 is in the House Committee on Rules.

Attorneys general in 22 states, including Oregon, are suing to reverse the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality. The FCC chair has said mandating net neutrality stifles investment and innovation.

Five governors have signed executive orders protecting net neutrality in their states. Though federal law may preempt any bills that pass, legislation is pending in more than half of states.

Williamson said that's because people are concerned about keeping a free and open internet...

"And not letting big corporations decide what content we can see, whether or not we can download things quickly, whether or not they contract with a provider and that's the only information you can get,” she said.

There are also efforts underway in Congress to establish net neutrality rules.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR