Net Neutrality 2020 Legislation

Heather Morton 1/19/2021

Gavel and Net Neutrality Sign

After the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Order and transparency rule amendments became effective June 11, 2018, overturning earlier requirements on net neutrality requirements on internet service providers, state legislators responded by introducing net neutrality legislation at the state level.

Net neutrality is the concept that all data traffic on a network should be treated indiscriminately, where internet service providers (ISPs) would be restricted from blocking, slowing down or speeding up the delivery of online content at their discretion. The current debate surrounding net neutrality is principally about how ISPs should be regulated and what role government should play in overseeing their network management practices.

The rule change places primary jurisdiction over internet service providers’ network management practices under the Federal Trade Commission and preempts states from enacting similar ISP network restrictions as found in the 2015 Open Internet Order.

Attorneys general from more than 20 states, nonprofits and internet groups filed suit against the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, arguing that the FCC action was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act. In October 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued its ruling, upholding the 2018 order, with two exceptions. First, the court concluded that the FCC had not shown legal authority to issue its Preemption Directive, which would have barred states from imposing any rule or requirement that the Commission “repealed or decided to refrain from imposing” in the order or that is “more stringent” than the order. The court vacated that portion of the order. Second, the court remanded the order to the FCC on three discrete issues: (1) The order failed to examine the implications of its decisions for public safety; (2) the order does not sufficiently explain what reclassification will mean for regulation of pole attachments; and (3) the agency did not adequately address petitioners’ concerns about the effects of broadband reclassification on the Lifeline Program.

Seven states—California, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington—and Puerto Rico enacted legislation or adopted resolutions in previous legislative sessions. In a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice, California agreed to not enforce its net neutrality law until the lawsuit challenging the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of the federal regulations is resolved.

Twelve states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico introduced net neutrality legislation in the 2020 legislative session.

Separately, legislators have introduced measures that would restrict ISPs’ use of customer information and adopt privacy protections. For example, two states, Nevada and Minnesota prohibit disclosure of personally identifying information, but Minnesota also requires ISPs to get permission from subscribers before disclosing information about the subscribers' online surfing habits and internet sites visited.

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

Net Neutrality 2020 Legislation
State Bill Number Bill Summary
Alabama None  
Alaska None  
Arizona None  
Arkansas None  
California None  
Colorado None  
Connecticut SB 5

Requires internet service providers to register and pay registration fees and requires the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to apply net neutrality principles to internet service providers and enforce such principles with civil penalties.

Delaware None  
District of Columbia B23-664

Prohibits fixed and mobile internet service providers that provide broadband interact access service from engaging in specified actions concerning the treatment of lawful Internet traffic, among other things, such as blocking lawful content, applications, services, or nonharmful devices, impairing or degrading lawful internet traffic on the basis of internet content, application, or service.

Florida None  
Georgia None  
Guam None  
Hawaii

None

 

Idaho None  
Illinois None  
Indiana None  
Iowa None

 

Kansas None  
Kentucky HB 124

Amends KRS 154.15-010 to create a definition for paid prioritization; creates a new section of Subchapter 15 of KRS Chapter 154 to require KentuckyWired contracts between the Kentucky Communications Network Authority and public or private internet service providers contain certain provisions to ensure open and fair access to the network by customers.

Louisiana None  
Maine None  
Maryland HF 957
SF 1005

Prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile broadband internet access service providers, in the course of providing certain services, from blocking certain content, applications, services, or devices, subject to a certain limitation, or impairing or degrading certain internet traffic on a certain basis; prohibits fixed internet service providers and mobile broadband internet access service providers, in the course of providing certain services, from requiring certain consideration.

Massachusetts HB 2921

Provides for net neutrality and consumer protection.

Massachusetts HB 2927

Protects consumers by prohibiting blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization in the provision of internet service.

Massachusetts SB 1936

Promotes net neutrality and consumer protection.

Massachusetts SB 1960

Ensures a free and open internet in the Commonwealth.

Michigan None  
Minnesota None

 

Mississippi None  
Missouri HB 1548

This bill specifies that it is unlawful for a fixed or mobile internet service provider to engage in certain specified activities or to offer or provide services other than broadband internet access that are delivered over the same last-mile connection as the broadband internet access under certain conditions. Nothing in the bill is to be construed to prohibit a fixed or mobile internet service provider from offering or providing services other than broadband internet access service that are delivered over the same last-mile connection as the broadband service. The provisions of this bill do not supersede any obligation or authorization a fixed or mobile internet service provider may have to address the needs of emergency communications or law enforcement, public safety, or national security authorities or prohibit reasonable efforts by a fixed or mobile internet service provider to address copyright infringement or other unlawful activity.

Missouri HB 1782

This bill provides that broadband service providers shall publicly disclose information regarding network management practices, performance, and the commercial terms of its broadband internet access. Broadband service providers shall also not block any broadband internet access, impair broadband internet access, engage in paid prioritization, or unreasonably disadvantage an end user's ability to select internet content or an edge provider's ability to provide Internet content to end users. The Public Service Commission may only sanction paid prioritization if it will provide some significant public interest benefit and not impede the open access of the internet. The bill also authorizes the attorney general to enforce the provisions of the bill, with any resulting proceedings including a penalty up to $5,000 for each violation, not to exceed $25,000 per day. Additionally, any individual violating the provisions of the bill shall be subject to all penalties, remedies, and procedures provided by merchandising practice laws.

Montana No regular 2020 session  
Nebraska None  
Nevada No regular 2020 session  
New Hampshire

SB 554

Passed Senate 2/13/20

This bill establishes a committee to study state regulation of net neutrality.

New Jersey AB 1512

Requires cable television companies to provide cable television service and broadband internet speed to all committed service areas before cable television companies allow paid prioritization of Internet network traffic.

New Jersey AB 4217 Directs the Board of Public Utilities to prohibit internet service providers from installing broadband telecommunications infrastructure on certain poles or underground facilities unless internet service providers adhere to principle of “net neutrality.”
New Jersey AB 4219
SB 1311

Prohibits awarding of public contracts to internet service providers, unless internet service providers adhere to principle of “net neutrality.”

New Jersey AR 20

Urges President and Congress of United States to restore “net neutrality” in federal law.

New Jersey SB 1180

Establishes “New Jersey Net Neutrality Act.”

New Mexico None  
New York

AB 9508
Substituted by SB 7508 4/2/20

Enacts into law major components of legislation necessary to implement the state transportation, economic development and environmental conservation budget for the 2020-2021 state fiscal year and relates to net neutrality provisions.

New York AB 10777
SB 8020
Requires that state contracts only be with internet service providers compliant with net neutrality and establishes a revolving fund for the establishment of municipal internet service providers; appropriates $250 million therefor.
North Carolina None

 

North Dakota No regular 2020 session  
N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio None  
Oklahoma None  
Oregon None  
Pennsylvania None  
Puerto Rico HB 1427

Establishes the right of every citizen neutrality through cybernetics networks; establishes the public policy of the Government of Puerto Rico regarding the protection of said right; amends Law 213 of 1996, as amended, the Telecommunications Law in order to provide and preserve the free flow of all information and content, to limit marketing practices that create packages for the use of certain applications, information flow or data by the companies that provide telecommunication and broadband.

Rhode Island HB 7553

This bill requires internet service providers to follow internet service neutrality requirements.

Rhode Island SB 2103

This bill requires internet service providers to follow internet service neutrality requirements.

South Carolina HB 4993

Adds article 25 to chapter 9, title 58 entitled "local government-owned broadband internet access service" so as to authorize and regulate local government-owned broadband internet access service providers. A local agency engaged in the provision of broadband internet access service pursuant to this article may not engage in paid prioritization.

South Dakota None  
Tennessee None  
Texas No regular 2020 sesssion  
Utah None  
Vermont None  
Virginia HB 70

Prohibits a provider of broadband services from offering or renewing services to consumers within any locality in the commonwealth in which certain media is throttled, blocked, or prioritized on the basis of its content, format, host address, or source.

US Virgin Islands None  
Washington None  
West Virginia HB 2325

Adds a new article, designated §1-7-1, §1-7-2 and §1-7-3, all relating to net neutrality for state government; provides legislative findings; defines terms; requires the state to utilize net neutral internet services and associated activities; and provides exceptions.

Wisconsin None  
Wyoming None  

 

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Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales, and telecommunications issues for NCSL.

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