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Net Neutrality Groups Push Dems to Get On Board

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The fight to reinstate net neutrality soon will move to another phase as the current session of Congress comes to a close. (Wikimedia)
The fight to reinstate net neutrality soon will move to another phase as the current session of Congress comes to a close. (Wikimedia)
December 19, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The fight in Congress to save net neutrality this year ends as the session ends on Friday - but supporters are pushing U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider and 15 other Democrats to go on record in support of it.

Schneider is one of 16 Democratic holdouts who did not sign onto the petition under the Congressional Review Act that would have forced a vote to restore net neutrality.

Laila Abdelaziz, a campaigner with the nonprofit Fight for the Future, said she believes a weaker net-neutrality bill will be introduced once the next Congress is seated in January. However, she said she worries that it only will seem to address the problem - but won't go far enough.

"So, in these last few days right now," she said, "we are organizing to get as many members of the House on the record for the strong net-neutrality protections so they can't back down in the next Congress."

She said Schneider has taken about $66,000 in donations over the years from internet companies. Schneider's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission repealed the Obama-era rule that would have forbidden internet service providers from blocking or slowing down sites they don't like, and from creating an internet "fast lane" and charging users more.

Abdelaziz said intense public support for net neutrality has restrained internet service providers from taking advantage of the repeal - at least, so far.

"The fact that the public and advocates are following along and paying attention is preventing internet service providers from rolling out the really anti-consumer practices," she said.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is one of 23 state attorneys general suing to reinstate net neutrality. A net-neutrality bill stalled in the Illinois House of Representatives earlier this year.

The lawsuit filed by the attorneys general is online at ag.ny.gov, the Illinois legislation is at ilga.gov, and the FCC repeal is at federalregister.gov.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - IL