ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York state could adopt its own version of net neutrality under legislation state lawmakers announced Tuesday.
The bill would require internet providers doing business with the state or its municipalities to certify that they don’t interfere with web traffic or speed to favor certain sites or costumers. Companies that don’t abide by net neutrality when it comes to consumers wouldn’t be eligible for contracts.
The lawmakers behind the idea say it’s a simple way to use the state’s lucrative information technology contracts as leverage to encourage fair treatment for consumers around the state.
“This is about keeping a free and open internet,” said Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, an Albany Democrat and a sponsor of the bill. “It’s the power of the New York purse.”
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Several states are now looking at creating net neutrality rules after the Federal Communications Commission repealed the policy last month. Montana on Monday became the first state to bar internet providers from receiving state contracts if they won’t abide by net neutrality. That policy was enacted through an executive order from Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.
“This should be done at the federal level,” said Sen. David Carlucci, a Clarkstown Democrat who said lawmakers in New York have been in talks with their counterparts in several states about the issue. “But since it’s not, we have to step up.”
A group of attorneys general for 21 states and the District of Columbia has sued to block the federal repeal. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, is leading the lawsuit.
Messages left with several internet provider companies in New York were not immediately returned Tuesday.
The bill hasn’t been scheduled for a vote in the Senate or Assembly. Lawmakers began their 2018 session earlier this month.