Governor signs ‘net neutrality’ rules

Gov. Kate Brown signs House Bill 4155 at Mt. Tabor Middle School on Monday. The bill requires public bodies to buy internet services only from companies that practice net neutrality, the practice of not charging different rates, blocking or slowing down certain websites.

PORTLAND — Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law a bill requiring public bodies to contract only with internet providers that practice net neutrality.

House Bill 4155 passed both legislative chambers with bipartisan support earlier this year. The law is meant to discourage broadband companies from blocking, slowing down or charging more for certain content.

“I’m so pleased and very proud that Oregon passed this legislation due in part to the voices of young people who made their voices heard,” Brown said before the signing the bill at Mount Tabor Middle School in Portland Monday.

The Federal Communications Commission repealed a federal rule or universal net neutrality in December. The move prompted about 20 states, including Oregon, to urgethe federal government to restore the protections and for dozens of states to consider laws to counteract the decision.

Washington in March became the first state in the nation to enact statewide net neutrality regulations that make it illegal for broadband providers to block or slow down certain content, according to the Washington Post.

The two new laws could mark the beginning of patchwork internet regulations around the nation, the paper reported.

“We faced on this issue a unique challenge of balancing what we could do legally as a state with something that actually would be effective in moving the policy forward,” state House Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson said Monday. “I think this bill, House Bill 4155, will achieve that balance with a perfect middle ground.

“The internet should create, encourage and grow opportunities. It should allow us to develop the potential of all of our people.”

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