A bill that would require “net neutrality” in Minnesota had a hearing in the DFL-controlled House on Wednesday but nothing is scheduled in the Republican-controlled Minnesota Senate. Saint Louis Park Democratic Senator Ron Latz says it’s a consumer protection issue. “Everyone who’s an Internet consumer ought to have free and unfettered access to the Internet: Not that they don’t pay their ISP, but once you get beyond that, they ought to have the kind of access that everyone should have, to all the websites that they want to be able to access,” Latz says.
Latz argues if small businesses can’t compete with big companies on a level Internet playing field, they’re locked out of the economy and “it would forever consign many businesses in Greater Minnesota to being backwaters and unable to compete and grow jobs in Greater Minnesota.”
A coalition of industry groups responds they’re committed to open Internet and support federal legislation — but say any state attempts to regulate the Internet will result in a patchwork of inconsistent laws which will be pre-empted by federal statute.