Since taking office last year, Donald Trump has been on an apparent warpath to dismantle and rollback any progress that was made in the previous eight years. Likely due to his dislike of former President Obama, and a desire to wipe away his legacy, Trump’s primary agenda has revolved around repealing Obama-era regulations. Whether this was in the form of ObamaCare, climate change issues, or economic policies, it is clear that the Trump administration cares little about the actual impact of their detrimental decisions.
Among the more recent rollbacks is that of doing away with vital net neutrality laws, which were implemented by the former administration in order to ensure equality and transparency on the internet, regardless of economic status. Despite backlash from an array of advocacy groups and individuals around the country, the current administration stayed their course in passing legislation that would allow discrimination in internet usage, based on the amount of money being paid for the service. With so many relying on the internet for their source of information, it is evident that local governments would eventually step up in support of their constituents.
On Monday, Governor Phil Murphy (D) of New Jersey signed into action an executive order that would prohibit the blocking or favoring of web content by internet service providers who are working with the state. According to an article by ARS Technica,
‘The executive order says that New Jersey state agencies may only buy Internet service from ISPs that adhere to net neutrality principles. But the net neutrality protections will cover ordinary residents as well as government officials. That’s because the order says that “adherence to ‘net neutrality’ principles means that an ISP shall not [violate the rules] with respect to any consumers in New Jersey (including but not limited to State entities.”‘
Murphy’s bold executive order joins a list of other states which have also signed in similar legislations, including New York and Montana, as a means of pushing against the FCC’s biased reforms. Murphy claimed that, despite the fact that his state is unable to unilaterally re-implement net neutrality legislation, each state can do their part in ensuring their citizens and consumers are safeguarded from the repeal.
— EFF (@EFF) February 5, 2018
Tell your Governor to do this! https://t.co/SCT45RZghr
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) February 5, 2018
New Jersey also announced that they will be adding their voices to a lawsuit that is currently ongoing, which involves the backing of 21 states against the FCC’s orders to repeal net neutrality. The New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Grewal, claimed that the actions taken by the FCC directly contradict the evidence that was put forward, and their policy is an attack on a free and open Internet.
NJ Attorney General Grewal announced today that New Jersey is joining a multi-state lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission seeking to block the FCC’s rollback of net neutrality. More: https://t.co/d2SnnzFvQQ #NetNeutrality #FCC pic.twitter.com/nJjwR6ankt
— NJ Attorney General (@NewJerseyAG) February 5, 2018
As the issue continues to be hotly debated, various states are taking their own actions against the administration’s reforms. The California State Senate made their voices heard quite prominently, as legislation has been introduced that would enforce net neutrality regulations on the ISPs themselves, making it more difficult for the providers to leverage the FCC’s repeal. The actions being taken around the nation provide insight not only into another challenge faced by the Trump administration, but furthermore the president’s unwillingness to provide equal and fair access to information for all people.
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