Skip to main content

Senators plan push to restore net neutrality rules gutted by FCC – here's how

And Minnesota's two U.S. senators have weighed in.

The Essentials

1. A group of senators has banded together to try to restore open internet protections the FCC voted to dismantle in December.

2. This push was spearheaded by Democratic Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, who immediately after the FCC's vote proposed a resolution to undo what he called a "historic mistake."

3. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota was one of the 15 original supporters of Markey's proposal, and argued the net neutrality rollback would harm rural communities, small businesses and consumers. The newly sworn in Sen. Tina Smith signed on Tuesday. She called net neutrality a "basic – but important – principle."

What Else You Should Know

A quick recap: Net neutrality is the idea that all content on the internet should be treated equally. A 2015 open internet rule supported by the Obama administration required internet service providers to adhere to this – no deliberately blocking or slowing legal content, and no offering paid fast lanes to content providers.

On Dec. 14, the FCC – led by Chair Ajit Pai – voted 3-2 to reclassify broadband internet and effectively undo those rules. Pai argues the net neutrality regulation stifled investments and innovation.

But critics say the elimination of net neutrality rules favors telecom companies and hurts consumers.


5 images showing how net neutrality changes could impact you

Klobuchar, Smith, and three dozen of their colleagues agree with those critics, and we're now seeing a surge in support for Markey's proposal.

But will it go anywhere?

Markey's plan is to use a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution. It's a way for Congress to cancel out rule and regulation changes put into effect by federal agencies, Brookings Institute explains. (Ars Technica points out a CRA resolution is the same method Republicans used in 2017 to allow ISPs to your internet data.) 

The Senate only needs 30 supporters to force a vote, a threshold Markey's resolution passed Monday


Could Minnesota establish its own net neutrality protections?

Even if a vote happens, the proposal's prospects aren't great.

It has to be fully approved by the Senate, which right now Republicans narrowly control with 51 seats. And of the 38 co-sponsors, none are Republican.

Even if it got through the Senate, the House (also under GOP control) would also need to approve the resolution. And then the president would need to sign it, Brookings says.

So this is a bit of a longshot.

Markey however argues that even forcing a full Senate vote means lawmakers have to publicly take a stance.

The net neutrality rollback also faces a legal challenge that has the support of some of the largest internet companies, including Netflix, Amazon and Google.

Next Up

940 Margaret St, St Paul, MN 55106, United States - May 2019 (1)

4-year-old girl struck by hit-and-run driver in St. Paul

The girl was struck by the driver around 5 p.m. Monday.

Minneapolis police

Baby found safe inside car that was stolen in south Minneapolis

The incident happened near 32nd Street and Chicago Avenue around 7 p.m.

Anthony Edwards

Ant puts on a show to help Timberwolves beat Pacers

A third-quarter surge gave the Timberwolves their seventh win in their past eight games.

Mikko Koivu

Wild to retire Mikko Koivu's No. 9 jersey

Koivu will be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.

Boebert-Omar - Flickr Gage Skidmore

Rep. Boebert refuses to apologize for Islamophobic comment toward Rep. Omar

A phone call Monday between the two lawmakers ended abruptly.

Patrick Peterson

Vikings place Patrick Peterson on COVID-19/reserve list

The Vikings cornerback said he was vaccinated in August.

flickr - thin ice warning - USFWS Midwest

'Numerous' reports of eager anglers falling through ice

Conditions are still unpredictable, and can vary even across a single body of water.


Minnesota health officials watching closely for omicron variant

Health leaders do not yet know how transmissible or severe the new variant is.

school bus stop pixabay

School bus driver charged in fatal hit-and-run will plead guilty

Another motorist told the driver to call 911, but he instead got on the bus and drove off, charges say.

Franconia Sculpture Park - Lorie Shaull - Flickr

5 outdoor destinations to explore around the Twin Cities

There's something for everyone on this list of overlooked spots.

Child mental health counseling

As pandemic continues, so do efforts to improve child mental health access

Children's Minnesota has announced it will open its first inpatient mental health facility for under 18s.

Dalvin Cook

Mixed reports on Dalvin Cook's injury status

The Vikings running back could miss two games...or he could play Sunday.


5 Minnesota reps support effort in U.S. House to restore net neutrality

Some members of the U.S. House are trying to undo the FCC's open internet rollback.

Bye, net neutrality: FCC votes to repeal open internet rules

The FCC voted to ditch regulations that prohibited ISPs from blocking or slowing content.

FCC's plans to nix some net neutrality rules would 'destroy the internet,' Franken says

Some say the FCC's new plan would make the internet less fair – others say it'd create more opportunity.

Minnesota's attorney general plans to join suit against FCC, wants net neutrality rules back in place

She wants a court to reverse the FCC's decision to gut open internet protections.

5 key points that explain how net neutrality became such a big deal

Net neutrality: One of the few things that's got Pinterest and Pornhub on the same page.

Could Minnesota establish its own net neutrality protections?

Two state lawmakers think so, and laid out their proposal this week.

Net neutrality: 5 images show how proposed rule changes could impact your life

Clear examples that explain what could happen if these open internet rules are dismantled.