The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday repealed Barack Obama-era rules on net neutrality, giving internet providers more control over the content consumers see online. And it took just a few minutes after the vote for Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson to announce he was suing President Donald Trump's administration again.
Ferguson, who helped to block Trump's travel ban, in a released statement said there's a strong legal argument the federal government violated the Administrative Procedure Act and will file a petition for review in the coming days. Washington state is one of several states so far suing over the repeal, including New York.
"We are 5-0 against the Trump administration because they often fail to follow the law when taking executive action," Ferguson said. "Allowing internet service providers to discriminate based on content undermines a free and open internet. Today’s action will seriously harm consumers, innovation and small businesses."
The landmark regulations implemented by the Obama administration in 2015 put limitations on broadband companies that connect consumers to the internet, like prohibiting them for charging more for looking at certain content. Thursday's 3-2 vote among FCC commissioners fell on party lines.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the repeal would promote competition among internet providers and incentivize them to build more networks.
State officials on Wednesday, a day before the vote, held a press conference on the potential repeal. Governor Jay Inslee promised that the state would act with its own internet protection regulations. Moz.com CEO Sarah Bird at the conference said repealing net neutrality laws "will create kingmakers that do not currently exist in our marketplace."
Since Trump appointed Ajit Pai as chairman in January, the FCC has also cut back on a program to give broadband subsidies for low-income households. It's also rolled back rules meant to prevent a single media company from dictating local coverage, The New York Times reported.
“Despite the pleas of millions of Americans, President Trump’s FCC voted to change the internet as we know it, and turn it into yet another money-making tool for large corporations," said U.S. senator Patty Murray in a released in statement. "This move is shameful and wrong, and I encourage the many, many people affected by today’s decision—from students and families, to small business owners and the next generation of innovators—to keep fighting back.”