If you have strong feelings about net neutrality, it’s time for a hail mary. The Federal Communications Commission is set to roll back net neutrality regulations as of June 11, 2018 — unless the U.S. Senate votes to support a joint resolution of disapproval to negate the FCC action. TL;dr: It’s time to contact your senators. Today.
Back on February 22, the FCC published its Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which repealed the 2015 net neutrality regulations introduced during the Obama administration, despite the public outcry. Immediately, the fight to restore those regulations began, joined by organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Now legislators in Congress have one last chance to head off deregulation before it’s put into effect on June 11.
On Wednesday, May 16, the full Senate will vote on Senate Joint Resolution 52 (S.J.Res 52), “providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to ‘Restoring Internet Freedom’.”
Tools to contact your senator
Right now, the bill, introduced by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), has 48 co-sponsors; that’s not enough votes to guarantee passage, let alone reach the two-thirds majority needed to make this bill veto-proof. While it’s extra-important to contact your senator if they’re a Republican (since no Republicans have signed on as co-sponsors), keep in mind that Senate staff will tabulate constituents’ input to back up the senator’s decision. So even if your senator is Markey himself, call and tell him you support his bill.
Battle for the Net site
Of course, there are plenty of tools to help you contact your senator. One specific to net neutrality is Battle for the Net, an advocacy group formed to fight for this issue. You fill in your information on a letter at the top of the webpage and the group sends your email to your representatives. Note, however, that sometimes because of high traffic, your message might get delayed.
Another good option is Resistbot, an SMS/Telegram/Twitter/Messenger bot that lets you compose and send faxes to your members of Congress with ease. You can use it to address any issue, but for net neutrality, be specific about S.J.Res. 52. When you register, the bot finds the correct representatives to contact, so all subsequent visits become much easier.
But sometimes, especially when time is of the essence, the personal touch is best. That means: Pick up the phone and call your senator. Their phone numbers will be on the Senate page; you have two people to contact, since both senators from your state report to you. This website links out to the individual senators’ contact pages as well; if you are getting no response on the phone, you can usually email them directly through a web form.
Next up: House of Representatives
Once you’re done, you should also contact your representatives in the House about House Joint Resolution 129 (H.J.Res. 129), sponsored by Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA). That’s the version of the net neutrality defense bill in the House, currently in the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. If your representative is on that subcommittee (see list here), contact them now.
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