Senate Passes State “Net Neutrality” (23-5) 2018

Roll Call Graphic
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PASSED
in the State Senate on February 2, 2018 by a vote of

23-5 
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Purpose: To mandate that state government only contract with internet service providers (ISPs) that continue to comply with the “net neutrality” rules that were recently repealed by the FCC.
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Analysis: This bill is an attempt to maintain at the state level the national “net neutrality” regulations put in place by the FCC in 2015 but repealed in 2018. It punishes ISPs that do not continue to operate under the repealed rules by disallowing the state to contract with such ISPs, and puts in place the mechanisms to monitor and certify compliance.
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The principle behind “net neutrality” is that an ISPs must provide equal access to all lawful content and applications regardless of the source, and does not allow for any prioritized service, either for the ISP itself or for customers who pay more.
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Opponents of net neutrality believe it discourages investment in broadband infrastructure and innovation, and is an unnecessary and dangerous intrusion of government into a free and open internet.
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Those voting YES on S.289 are in favor of a larger role for government in regulating the internet.
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Those voting NO were concerned that the bill was flawed in a number of ways, including the possibility that it could open up the state to costly lawsuits, and could lead to some portions of the state losing internet access to essential government services. (E.g. If a region is served by only one ISP, as some are, and that ISP is not compliant with this “net neutrality” legislation, the state could not contract with the lone ISP to provide government services.)
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Pursuing “net neutrality” fails to change the perception that Vermont is an unfriendly business environment for Internet Service Providers . Only Delaware, Rhode Island and Hawaii have fewer broadband providers to Vermont’s 61. And those 3 states all have faster download speeds. Piecing together another regulatory scheme for internet providers is not a productive way to protect consumers. Enticing market entry from outside the state is the best way to ensure businesses offer the best rates to Vermonters.
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Senate Journal, Friday, February 2, 2018. “Thereupon, the bill was read the third time and passed on a roll call, Yeas 23, Nays 5.” (Read the Journal, p. 193-195)
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How They Voted

(Click on Your Senator’s Name to Send an Email)

Timothy Ashe (D/P-Chittenden) – YES
Claire Ayer (D-Addison) –  YES
Becca Balint (D-Windham) – YES
Philip Baruth (D-Chittenden) –  ABSENT
Joseph Benning (R-Caledonia) – NO
Carolyn Branagan (R-Franklin) – NO
Christopher Bray (D-Addison) –  YES
Randy Brock (R-Franklin) – NO
Francis Brooks (D-Washington) – YES
Brian Campion (D-Bennington) – YES
Alison Clarkson (D-Windsor) – YES
Brian Collamore (R-Rutland) – NO
Ann Cummings (D-Washington) –  YES
Margaret Flory (R-Rutland) – ABSENT
Debbie Ingram (D-Chittendent) – YES
M. Jane Kitchel (D-Caledonia) – YES
Virginia Lyons (D-Chittenden) – YES
Mark MacDonald (D-Orange) – YES
Richard Mazza (D-Chittenden-Grand Isle) – YES
Richard McCormack (D-Windsor) –  YES
Alice Nitka (D-Windsor District) – YES
Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) –  YES
Anthony Pollina (P/D/W-Washington) – YES
John Rodgers (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Richard Sears (D-Bennington) –  YES
Michael Sirotkin (D-Chittenden) –  YES
David Soucy (R-Rutland) – NO
Robert Starr (D-Essex-Orleans) – YES
Richard Westman (R-Lamoille) –  YES
Jeanette White (D-Windham) –  YES

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