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Rep. Chris Hansen takes Colorado’s net neutrality debate national

Author: Joey Bunch - April 23, 2018 - Updated: April 23, 2018

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net neutralityRep. Leslie Herod and Chris Hansen, both Democrats from Denver, took to Facebook Live last December to announce they were working on the net neutrality issue at the state level. (Screen capture via Facebook)

State Rep. Chris Hansen, a Democrat from Denver, has been making the case for Colorado to do what it can to protect consumers as the Trump administration rolls back net neutrality rules. Thursday he made the case in Washington via an op-ed in The Hill newspaper.

Hansen responded to a piece last Monday in the same outlet co-written by Katie McAuliffe, executive director of Digital Liberty and Margaret Mire, state affairs manager for Americans for Tax Reform.

They called House Bill 1312 a “misguided piece of legislation” that amounts to “just another attempt to expand government’s reach into our daily lives.” The legislation is sponsored by Hansen and Rep Leslie Herod, another Democrat from Denver, with Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Vail Democrat.

The bill passed the Democratic-held House last week on a 34-28 party-line vote. It’s scheduled to be heard Monday afternoon by the Republican majority on the Senate State, Veteran and Military Affairs Committee, called the “kill committee” in each chamber because it’s where partisan bills go to die.

After alleging the conservatives op-ed authors didn’t actually read the Colorado, Hansen explained it in his piece in The Hill.

“State Rep. Leslie Herod and I introduced H.B. 18-1312 to do two things to stop this potential erosion of our open society. First, we put in a net-neutral service preference when state taxpayer dollars are being spent on internet services,” he wrote. “Second, the bill requires any company providing internet services using state support (e.g., rural broadband support programs) to commit to net neutrality. Companies are free to provide services in other ways to other customers. That’s the essence of the state being a market participant, and not a regulator.”

Then he took the fight to the White House door:

“The Trump administration is very much against states doing anything on this issue. However, we believe Colorado should join states like Washington and Montana in doing what we can to protect our residents from policies that can have no benefit to them, and could do great harm. That is our duty as state legislators.

“It is not hard to imagine where the removal of net neutrality will lead. Paid fast lanes for preferred content could allow bigger, more established businesses to squeeze out smaller competitors. For our free market to operate, consumers must be able to exercise free choice  —  not have those choices tilted, or made for them, by special interests.”

You can read the entire column by clicking here.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.