Assemblyman JOE DANIELSEN
District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)
Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Urges President and Congress of United States to restore “net neutrality” in federal law.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Assembly Resolution urging the President and Congress of the United States to restore the principle of “net neutrality” in federal law.
Whereas, “Net neutrality” is a principle concerning the free and open Internet, which specifically discourages Internet service providers (ISPs) from speeding up or slowing down Internet access and discriminating against or blocking access to content, applications, or websites; and
Whereas, On February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved an order entitled “In the Matter of Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet,” which reclassified the services provided by ISPs from “information services” under Title I of the “Communications Act of 1934” to “telecommunications services” under Title II of the “Communications Act of 1934;” and
Whereas, This reclassification allows the FCC to enact and enforce rules maintaining the principle of “net neutrality”, such as preventing ISPs from creating paid “fast lanes” for certain websites and ensuring all Internet traffic is treated equally; and
Whereas, These rules ensure the free flow of information to customers, uninhibited by ISP interference or discrimination, which is necessary for the trade of ideas and commerce in a healthy free market, fostering the growth of an informed and educated public; and
Whereas, On December 14, 2017, the FCC voted to approve an order entitled “In the Matter of Restoring Internet Freedom,” WC Docket No. 17-108, which rescinded the classification of ISP services under Title II, thereby revoking the regulatory authority the FCC has over an ISP’s ability to block, throttle, and prioritize content over its network; and
Whereas, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has stated that returning to a “light-touch” regulatory approach will help foster the rapid growth the country has seen in Internet technology over the last several decades and will allow for customer choice to determine whether free and open access to the Internet is something ISPs should provide; and
Whereas, However, most customers do not have a reasonable choice in deciding on which ISP to use since a few large companies control the majority of the ISP market, including the ISP market in New Jersey; and
Whereas, With the rapid shift to an information economy and the reliance of businesses on the Internet to be active participants in the market, free and open access to the Internet is important for small businesses that may not be able to afford access to the “fast lanes” reserved for businesses with the means to pay; and
Whereas, There has been public and Congressional opposition against the FCC order, with several members of Congress asserting that it was Congress’s intent with the passage of the “Telecommunications Act of 1996” to ensure the Internet remains an open platform for people, businesses, and information; and
Whereas, The Congressional Review Act (CRA), as part of the “Contract with America Advancement Act of 1996,” Pub.L. 104-121, grants Congress the ability to review a federal regulation issued by a government agency and to overrule it by enacting a joint resolution nullifying the regulation; and
Whereas, Through this process, Congress may introduce a joint resolution nullifying the order passed by the FCC on December 14, 2017, which, if passed by both Houses and signed by the President, would restore the regulatory landscape that existed prior to the order’s adoption; and
Whereas, Alternatively, it is within Congress’s jurisdiction over the FCC to introduce legislation codifying the principle of “net neutrality” in the United States Code, which would require the FCC to enforce the tenants of “net neutrality” through regulation of ISPs; and
Whereas, It is altogether fitting and proper, and in the public interest, that this House urge the President and Congress of the United States to take action to restore the principle of “net neutrality” so that it may be enforced by the FCC; now, therefore,
Be It Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. This House respectfully urges the President and Congress of the United States to restore the principle of “net neutrality” in federal law.
2. Copies of this resolution, as filed with the Secretary of State, shall be transmitted by the Clerk of the General Assembly to the President of the United States, the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of Congress elected from this State.
This Assembly Resolution respectfully urges the President and Congress of the United States to restore the principle of “net neutrality” in federal law. “Net neutrality” is a principle concerning the free and open Internet, which specifically discourages Internet service providers from speeding up or slowing down Internet access and discriminating against or blocking access to content, applications, or websites.