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Dozens of states are now considering plans to keep net neutrality rules

Dozens of states are now considering plans to keep net neutrality rules

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Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

When California proposed a bill this week to preserve net neutrality rules in the state, it was the most comprehensive effort in the nation. The bill would even move beyond the protections that the FCC recently moved to roll back.

Listed efforts in 35 states

But the bill is only one way states are moving to keep the rules after last year’s FCC decision. The activist group Fight for the Future has listed efforts in 35 states and the District of Columbia, including legislation under consideration and executive orders.

Those attempts to keep the rules come in an array of forms. A major part of the list includes a national attempt that kicked off in January, when 22 attorneys general signed on to a lawsuit challenging the rules. The suit, led by New York’s attorney general, will take some time to wind its way through court, but is one of the most prominent challenges to the repeal.

The governors of five states — Montana, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, and Vermont — have signed executive orders to preserve the rules. Several other states have proposed legislation in some form that would keep rules in place. Nearly all of those bills, though, are still making their ways through the legislative process, and it’s difficult to guess how many will become law.

There’s also still one major hurdle any states hoping to keep net neutrality rules will have to clear. In its repeal, the FCC said its action pre-empted any attempts by state to pass net neutrality legislation. That means states will almost certainly face lawsuits when they try to get around the repeal.

To head that off, states issuing executive orders have attempted crafting them in such a way to shield themselves from suits, saying only that they won’t do business with a company that doesn’t abide by net neutrality.

It’s not clear how any laws eventually passed by states will fare, but Washington state, the first to pass a net neutrality law, seems ready to defend it in court if necessary. The law’s primary sponsor told Ars Technica this week that “the FCC doesn’t have preemption authority just because it says so.”