OLYMPIA –Washington consumers’ access to a free and open internet is protected under bipartisan legislation passed by the state House today. House Bill 2282, which safeguards net neutrality, advanced on a 93-5 vote.
“The net neutrality rules have been protecting a free and open internet for some years now, and today’s vote shows we have broad bipartisan support for maintaining these protections for Washington consumers even after they go away at the federal level,” said Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge Island, the bill’s prime sponsor.
Hansen and Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, have championed net neutrality for Washingtonians in the state House and rallied support from both sides of the aisle for the bill.
“This is not a partisan issue. This is about preserving a fair and free internet so all Washingtonians can participate equally in the 21st century economy,” said Smith. “I am heartened by the overwhelming show of support this bill received today, and am proud to have worked closely with Rep. Hansen to ensure we are protecting everyone in Washington state from the unintended consequences of a consolidation of power. Net neutrality is an issue of tremendous importance that will matter today, tomorrow and generations from now. We have to get this right, and today was a good first step.”
Under the legislation, internet service providers (ISPs) in the state would be prohibited from:
- Blocking customers’ access to lawful content
- “Throttling,” or slowing down lawful content
- Favoring certain content over others due to “paid prioritization”
In December, the Federal Communications Commission removed net neutrality protections at the federal level. Hansen and Smith spoke out against this decision at a press conference with Governor Jay Inslee, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and business leaders.
The measure now heads to the state Senate.