In a press release on Thursday Republican Governor Scott announced he issued an executive order requiring that state contractors comply with net neutrality standards — thus following the lead of Democratic governors in Montana and New York and New Jersey who first signed similar orders back in January.
Vtdigger.com: The governor’s order directs the Agency of Administration to amend its procedures to ensure that internet providers who contract with the state comply with net neutrality standards, according to a news release from the Scott administration
The governor’s executive order would prevent internet companies who contract with the state from blocking content, engaging in paid prioritization of internet services or acting to “throttle, impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of Internet content, application, or service.”
Scott’s order came after a state senate committee passed legislation (S.289) aimed at the same goal: to stop FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s repeal of Obama-era rules that had prohibited broadband providers from blocking or slowing websites or charging for higher-quality content and service. Similar legislation is under consideration in the Vermont House.
Other challenges to the Trump-era FCC rule change out ahead of Scott’s Thursday order include one by Vermont AG T.J. Donovan. He earlier joined attorneys general in twenty-one states in a lawsuit against the FCC to keep net neutrality. And nationally our entire congressional delegation has opposed Chairman Pai’s rule change from the start.
Governor Scott did include an exclusion — perhaps a regulatory loophole: “Waivers to these Procedures may be granted by the Secretary only upon receipt of a written justification from a State Agency and a finding by the Secretary [that] a waiver would serve a legitimate and significant interest of the State,” the order says.
In fairness, it must be noted that the Senate version of the bill as of our reading has a similar passage: The Secretary of Administration may waive the prohibition on paid prioritization and preferential treatment under subdivision (b)(1)(C) of this section if the Internet service provider demonstrates and the Secretary finds that the practice would serve a legitimate and significant public interest and would not harm the open nature of the Internet in Vermont.
But, it’s good that Governor Scott has finally decided to enter the already-underway race to save net neutrality, however late his start. Because, you know, the internet just won’t run right when blocked, slowed, and throttled.