Thursday, June 07, 2007

Maine Resolves to Monitor

Earlier I had heard some reports that the Maine legislature was considering passing a state net neutrality law containing a nondiscrimination mandate. So I was pleased to learn--maybe relieved to learn puts it more accurately--that what ultimately was adopted yesterday by the legislature was a resolution directing the Public Advocate to monitor state and federal actions, including the FCC's notice of inquiry, regarding Internet regulatory developments. Presumably the Public Advocate would have undertaken such monitoring without the legislature having to resolve that he or she do so.

The truth is the pro-regulatory net neutrality crowd was pushing to have a bill adopted that would have established a strict net neutrality regulatory regime in Maine. A bill to this effect was introduced by Sen. Ethan Strimling and went nowhere. And the further truth is there was nowhere for the bill to go. Because any state law purporting to mandate net neutrality almost certainly will be preempted by federal law. Why this is so was explained in Jim Speta's Free State Foundation paper entitled "Net Neutrality Is A Federal Issue."

So, now, the legislature has resolved that Internet access regulatory developments should be monitored. While there seems to be little harm in this, who would have thought a resolution to this effect even would have been necessary. Happy monitoring, Maine!