Restore Net Neutrality
As a U.S. senator from the sovereign state of Alabama, and now as U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions often has declared his fealty to the concept of sacred states’ rights. For example, he quickly moved to invalidate an Obama administration rule requiring equal treatment of transgender students in public schools, leaving it to states and local school boards to determine their own rules. But when even more sacred corporate prerogatives are at play, states’ rights apparently are a pox on the republic. Last December the Federal Communications Commission rescinded “net neutrality” rules that had guaranteed equal access to the internet, and ceded control of that access to internet service providers, including behemoths such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. The change enables those companies to control content, delivery speeds and pricing according to their needs rather than the public’s. Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a state law firmly re-establishing net neutrality rules in that state, to a degree even greater than the standards that the FCC had eliminated. States’ rights devotee Sessions immediately charged over the hill with his federal cavalry, vowing to sue California to force it to follow the federal standard. Three other states have re-established aspects of net neutrality at the state level, and such bills have been introduced in more than half of the states, including Pennsylvania. Consumers should root for California in the pending legal battle. Meanwhile, Congress should serve those consumers instead of corporate sugar daddies, for a change, and reverse the FCC regulatory decision by law.