Net Neutrality Now!
Net Neutrality Now! (Photo: Backbone Campaign)

Net neu­tral­i­ty may be in grave per­il at the fed­er­al lev­el, but states like Wash­ing­ton are step­ping up to pro­tect the idea of a free and open Internet.

By a vote of nine­ty-three to five, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Fri­day adopt­ed leg­is­la­tion that would safe­guard net neu­tral­i­ty at the state lev­el. SHB 2282, prime spon­sored by State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Drew Hansen (D‑23rd Dis­trict: Bain­bridge Island) would pro­hib­it Inter­net ser­vice providers from block­ing or throt­tling law­ful con­tent. It would also pro­hib­it “paid pri­or­i­ti­za­tion” schemes.

“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 Hansen in a state­ment.

Hansen worked to build sup­port for the bill with his Repub­li­can col­league Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nor­ma Smith of Whid­bey Island.

“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 Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Hansen to ensure we are pro­tect­ing every­one in Wash­ing­ton state from the unin­tend­ed con­se­quences of a con­sol­i­da­tion of pow­er,” she added. “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.”

We strong­ly agree and we thank Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Hansen and Smith for bring­ing this bill to the floor and ensur­ing it sailed out of the House with strong support.

The roll call on SHB 2282 was as follows:

Roll Call
SHB 2282
Net neutrality
Final Passage

Yeas: 93; Nays: 5

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Apple­ton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Caldier, Chan­dler, Chap­man, Clib­born, Cody, Con­dot­ta, DeBolt, Dent, Doglio, Dolan, Eslick, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Good­man, Graves, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Haler, Hansen, Har­grove, Harmsworth, Har­ris, Hayes, Holy, Hud­gins, Irwin, Jenkin, Jink­ins, John­son, Kagi, Kil­duff, Kir­by, Klip­pert, Klo­ba, Kraft, Kretz, Kris­tiansen, Lovick, Lyt­ton, MacEwen, Macri, Man­weller, May­cum­ber, McBride, McCabe, McCaslin, McDon­ald, Mor­ris, Muri, Nealey, Orcutt, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pel­lic­ciot­ti, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pike, Pol­let, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Rodne, Ryu, San­tos, Sawyer, Schmick, Sells, Senn, Shea, Slat­ter, Smith, Springer, Stam­baugh, Stan­ford, Steele, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tar­leton, Tay­lor, Tharinger, Valdez, Van Wer­ven, Volz, Walsh, Wylie, Young, Chopp

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Buys, Dye, Stokes­bary, Vick, Wilcox

Five Repub­li­cans — Vin­cent Buys, Mary Due, Drew Stokes­bary, Bran­don Vick, and J.T. Wilcox — vot­ed against the bill. Every oth­er mem­ber of the House vot­ed aye.

The House passed a dif­fer­ent net neu­tral­i­ty bill last ses­sion, but it went nowhere in the Sen­ate because Sen­ate Repub­li­cans were not inter­est­ed in it.

Now that the Sen­ate is under Demo­c­ra­t­ic man­age­ment, the bill has a good chance of pass­ing and reach­ing Gov­er­nor Inslee’s desk. We’ll cer­tain­ly be doing our part to make that hap­pen. Net neu­tral­i­ty is the key to keep­ing the Inter­net free and open.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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