The State of Net Neutrality in Maine

Part 3 of 3 in series on the future of Net Neutrality | Read Part 1 and Part 2

If you’ve been keeping up with these posts, you know that net neutrality has officially been repealed and that it was a decision made by the FCC on the federal level. We also told you what you can about that.

To wrap things up—at least for the time being—we’re going to cover what could be done on the state level to do something approaching preserving net neutrality here in Maine.

The Two-Fold Path

There are two ways that states can maintain net neutrality within their own borders. So far, the governors of six states— Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Montana, Rhode Island, Vermont—have signed executive orders. In those instances, that pretty much means that the governor is really certain that both his state’s legislative bodies and their constituent base support net neutrality unequivocally.

The odds of this happening in Maine are basically zero. That leaves a legislative solution as the only option on the table.

Washington, Oregon and Vermont Lead the Way

In terms of legislative efforts to do something about the catastrophic roll back of net neutrality, three states are already ahead of the pack. It didn’t take long for Washington to jump into action; they had a law on the books on March 6 of this year. Oregon followed suit, with Governor Kate Brown laying down fresh ink on that state’s own law a little over a month later. Vermont wrapped things up, drawing its own legislative line in the sand in late April.

The Maine Way, If There is One

In order for Maine to achieve something similar, an interested member of the state House of Representatives would have to take up the cause. He or she could recruit other like-minded reps to sponsor the bill and bring it to the floor.

So what gives? Why hasn’t this happened? Well, have you called your rep to tell them net neutrality is important to you? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Most people don’t understand exactly how important it is for elected officials to hear from their constituents. Without the weight of public opinion, the government is left to identify its priorities on its own. In a nutshell: nobody’s going to do anything about this if you don’t.

Not sure who your elected officials are? Again, you’re not alone.

Here’s how to figure it out:

• Go to: http://legislature.maine.gov/house/townlist.htm
• Click on the first letter of the name of your town/city in the list at the top
• That should bring you down into the list of town names. You’ll probably have to scroll bit still to reach your town’s name at the far left of the list.