Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/13/2018 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SSSB 108 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 18 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB 160-BROADBAND INTERNET: NEUTRALITY/REGULATION                                                                    
2:19:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO   reconvened  the   meeting  and   announced  the                                                               
consideration of SB 160.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  TOM BEGICH,  Alaska  State  Legislature Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
sponsor of  SB 160,  introduced the  legislation speaking  to the                                                               
following sponsor statement.                                                                                                    
     SB 160 would require  Internet Service Providers (ISPs)                                                                    
     who provide  broadband Internet  to Alaskans  to engage                                                                    
     in the practice of net  neutrality. The bill would make                                                                    
     sure all  data on the  Internet is treated  equally. It                                                                    
     would  protect  small   businesses  from  uncompetitive                                                                    
     practices  and guarantee  unrestricted Internet  access                                                                    
     for all Internet users.                                                                                                    
     Without  net  neutrality,  ISPs may  legally  speed  up                                                                    
     certain  sites,  slow  down  others,  block  sites  all                                                                    
     together,  and require  certain users  to pay  more for                                                                    
     Internet fast lanes. The  elimination of net neutrality                                                                    
     gives  ISPs  the  power   to  determine  what  websites                                                                    
     consumers   could  visit   and  what   content  website                                                                    
     creators  could share.  Allowing  ISPs to  discriminate                                                                    
     based on content undermines a free and open Internet.                                                                      
     On  multiple  occasions,  millions  of  Americans  have                                                                    
     publicly   commented  in   favor   of  protecting   net                                                                    
     neutrality  and  have  spoken out  against  the  recent                                                                    
     Federal  Communications Commission  order to  eliminate                                                                    
     net neutrality rules implemented  in 2015. The internet                                                                    
     is a  modern necessity for individuals  and businesses.                                                                    
     Net neutrality  is widely supported by  consumer rights                                                                    
     groups, privacy groups, and businesses organizations.                                                                      
     This  bill would  ensure that  the  Internet remains  a                                                                    
     platform    for   economic    competition   and    free                                                                    
SENATOR  BEGICH thanked  the committee  for passing  SJR 12.  The                                                               
resolution relates to  net neutrality and SB 160  moves the issue                                                               
to the local  level. He explained that net  neutrality means that                                                               
an internet service provider (ISP) is  not able to decide what an                                                               
individual does on the internet  and cannot block content or slow                                                               
the service.                                                                                                                    
2:22:23 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BEGICH  read the following  excerpts from Fast  Facts for                                                               
Conservatives  on Net  Neutrality by  the Christian  Coalition to                                                               
illustrate  that net  neutrality affects  everyone regardless  of                                                               
their beliefs:                                                                                                                  
     "Net neutrality"  policies helped create the  most free                                                                    
     and fair marketplace in  history, allowing consumers to                                                                    
     choose  the   winners  and  losers  in   a  competitive                                                                    
     marketplace. This resulted in  the best ideas, products                                                                    
     and services rising to top.                                                                                                
     The  new regulations  will  leave  consumers with  less                                                                    
     choice  and  our  economy   with  less  innovation  and                                                                    
     competition.   Without   equality   of   access,   such                                                                    
     innovation  would be  diminished  at  best, or  perhaps                                                                    
     even begin to move to  competing countries in the world                                                                    
     The  new  FCC  regulations  set  the  cable  and  phone                                                                    
     companies up to  become the equivalent of  the mafia to                                                                    
     the  Internet. Today,  consumers dictate  the evolution                                                                    
     of the  Internet. Under the new  regulations, cable and                                                                    
     phone  companies  will  be making  the  decisions.  And                                                                    
     their decisions will not be  made based on quality, but                                                                    
     rather on  who pays the  most "protection money"  to be                                                                    
     protected  from   the  competition  of  a   truly  free                                                                    
To  the  question  of  whether the  bill  preempts  federal  law,                                                               
Senator  Begich  said the  state  has  repeatedly questioned  the                                                               
federal government's authority  to dictate to the  state. Some of                                                               
the issues on which the  state pushed back were navigable rivers,                                                               
coastlines, and hunting and fishing  rights. In each instance the                                                               
legislature sought  to protect the  rights of Alaskans  first and                                                               
then let  the courts decide when  it was ambiguous. On  the issue                                                               
of  net  neutrality, it  is  unclear  whether  it  is or  is  not                                                               
ambiguous.  Over 30  states are  considering  or have  introduced                                                               
similar legislation. This sends a message to Washington, D.C.                                                                   
SENATOR BEGICH said  this issue should be decided  at the federal                                                               
level and an  Alaska ISP agrees. His office also  agrees that the                                                               
Alaska  Legislature   should  send   a  message  to   the  Alaska                                                               
delegation, just as  it did with the resolution [SJR  12] that it                                                               
is willing to  act and protect Alaskans. The  internet has always                                                               
been and  should always be  a platform  for free speech  and free                                                               
enterprise. It should  not be up to ISPs to  pick the winners and                                                               
losers.  Labor and  Commerce  is the  Senate's  committee on  the                                                               
economy and innovation  and this committee should  speak with the                                                               
strongest  voice  on  all  the issues  that  could  threaten  the                                                               
economy or innovation.                                                                                                          
2:26:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked who could be opposed to this legislation.                                                                 
SENATOR BEGICH said  he can't imagine reasonable  people would be                                                               
opposed to  it, but the record  shows that very large  ISPs would                                                               
oppose it.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR COSTELLO read the language on  page 1, lines 7-9, and asked                                                               
if this  is already being  publicly disclosed and the  meaning of                                                               
"accurate information."                                                                                                         
2:29:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SYNDEY LIENEMANN,  PhD., Staff, Senator Tom  Begich, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  Juneau,   Alaska  Juneau,  Alaska,  said   the  FCC                                                               
requires internet providers  to make public the  things listed in                                                               
subsection  (a). The  state Consumer  Protection  Board does  not                                                               
currently require public disclosure.                                                                                            
CHAIR COSTELLO  asked for a list  of the states that  have passed                                                               
or  are contemplating  legislation  similar to  SB  160, and  who                                                               
drafted the bill.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  BEGICH  agreed to  provide  the  list. He  advised  that                                                               
Legislative  Legal drafted  the  bill based  on Washington  State                                                               
CHAIR COSTELLO  referred to  the language on  page 3,  lines 8-9,                                                               
and asked  what the ramification  would be  if a company  did not                                                               
publicly disclose accurate information.                                                                                         
SENATOR  BEGICH said  they'd be  taken to  court by  the Consumer                                                               
Protection Bureau.                                                                                                              
CHAIR COSTELLO  asked him  to talk  about the  difference between                                                               
the  legislature   communicating  through  a   resolution  versus                                                               
statutory changes.                                                                                                              
SENATOR  BEGICH  explained  that  the  resolution  instructs  the                                                               
Congressional delegation to act  within the prescribed window and                                                               
reject the  new federal  regulation. If that  were to  happen the                                                               
bill would  be moot. SB  160 is a backup  plan that sets  a model                                                               
and  a template  for  legislation at  the  federal level.  That's                                                               
where the decision ultimately should be made.                                                                                   
DR. LIENEMANN  advised that the  Congressional Review  Act allows                                                               
Congress to reject new regulations  within 60 days of publication                                                               
in the federal  registry. To date the FCC has  not published that                                                               
2:34:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MEYER opined  that this  should be  done at  the federal                                                               
level.  He   posited  that  Alaska  could   be  disadvantaged  if                                                               
individual states pass  laws and large ISPs decide to  go only to                                                               
those states that have the largest populations.                                                                                 
SENATOR  BEGICH  said  he  believes that  passing  SB  160  could                                                               
improve  the ability  of providers  like ACS  and GCI  to compete                                                               
because they would be required  to offer Alaskans broader content                                                               
than an  outside competitor that  isn't bound by  net neutrality.                                                               
Second, the bill  sets an example and a template  for the federal                                                               
government  to  follow.  Marijuana, marriage,  and  federal  land                                                               
issues have been driven by action  at the state level. "We have a                                                               
chance to be a leader in this process and I think we should."                                                                   
2:36:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  STEVENS asked  him to  talk about  the FCC  decision and                                                               
what that commission thought it was accomplishing.                                                                              
SENATOR  BEGICH  explained that  when  the  internet was  in  its                                                               
infancy it was  regulated like a telephone call under  Title I of                                                               
the  FCC  Act.  This  is fairly  light-touch  on  the  regulatory                                                               
spectrum.  Regulation under  Title  II was  used for  information                                                               
sources and information services that  one might want to store or                                                               
keep and  download. While the  internet was developing,  a series                                                               
of actions  took place that led  the FCC to realize  it needed to                                                               
attempt to  more fully regulate  the internet under Title  I. One                                                               
example was when  Comcast forced Netflix to  compromise to ensure                                                               
smooth  content  delivery.  In 2010  the  FCC  attempted  further                                                               
regulation under  Title I  and in 2014  a federal  district court                                                               
judge in  Washington, D.C.  rejected the  attempt. The  FCC moved                                                               
the regulation  of the internet  to Title  II in 2015.  This time                                                               
the  judge  agreed  with  the  FCC  that  Title  II  was  a  more                                                               
appropriate  place to  regulate  the industry  to ensure  content                                                               
In November 2017  there was indication that the FCC  was about to                                                               
make a  change. Millions of pro  and con statements were  sent to                                                               
the FCC, many of which were  falsified on both sides. The FCC was                                                               
urged to  hold the  decision. Governor Walker  wrote to  urge the                                                               
FCC to examine  the issue further. However, the chair  of the FCC                                                               
chose  to move  forward in  late December  2017 and  returned the                                                               
internet  to  the  light-touch regulatory  framework.  Experience                                                               
shows that is not a way to protect net neutrality, he said.                                                                     
SENATOR STEVENS asked how members voted.                                                                                        
SENATOR BEGICH said it passed by one vote.                                                                                      
CHAIR COSTELLO added that the vote was 4:3.                                                                                     
2:40:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO opened public testimony on SB 160.                                                                               
2:40:32 PM                                                                                                                    
JEANIE PIERCE,  representing self, Kasilof, Alaska,  testified in                                                               
support  of SB  160. Responding  to Senator  Steven's query,  she                                                               
said Sinclair Broadcasting doesn't  like net neutrality. She said                                                               
this issue  is about whether consumers  can trust the FCC  to act                                                               
in  the best  interest to  maintain the  free, open,  and neutral                                                               
internet that  consumers have enjoyed  for decades. To  roll back                                                               
net neutrality protections would  allow ISPs to give preferential                                                               
treatment  to  certain users  to  the  detriment of  others.  She                                                               
emphasized  that everyone  should be  treated equally.  She urged                                                               
members to, "Do what's right  for the Alaska citizens, not what's                                                               
best for your political party's interest."                                                                                      
2:44:51 PM                                                                                                                    
DON  MCNAMARA, representing  self,  Homer,  Alaska, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 160. He  said he  is in favor  of a free  and open                                                               
internet and agrees with the previous speaker.                                                                                  
2:45:27 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA RAE  FAULKNER, representing self, Homer,  Alaska, testified                                                               
in  support of  SB 160.  She said  she supports  a free  and open                                                               
internet and  everything the sponsor  said to the  committee. She                                                               
appreciates SB 160 and hopes it passes.                                                                                         
2:45:47 PM                                                                                                                    
TARA RICH,  Legal and Policy  Director, American  Civil Liberties                                                               
Union  (ACLU)  of  Alaska,  Juneau,  Alaska,  said  it  would  be                                                               
shocking and  abhorrent if a  telephone company could  detect who                                                               
you  were talking  to or  the  subjects you  were talking  about.                                                               
Similarly, everyone  would be up  in arms if a  telephone company                                                               
were  to  intentionally drop  or  block  calls based  on  subject                                                               
matter. Because  it is possible  for internet companies  to track                                                               
what  people look  at  and  what they  do  on  the internet,  net                                                               
neutrality  is  important  to  prevent an  ISP  from  slowing  or                                                               
blocking content. This has happened in  the past on more than one                                                               
occasion. In 2007  Comcast saw its business  model threatened and                                                               
throttled  a  peer-to-peer  sharing  network  called  BitTorrent.                                                               
Young people  primarily used it  to download free movies,  but it                                                               
is also used  for open content such as trade  manuals and videos.                                                               
Video sharing has since proliferated  throughout the internet and                                                               
net neutrality  prevents an identical throttling  situation. It's                                                               
a  matter  of  letting  the  market forces  work.  She  said  net                                                               
neutrality is  also a  free speech issue.  Today the  internet is                                                               
used  extensively  for work  and  entertainment,  but freedom  of                                                               
expression  isn't  worth much  when  the  fora where  people  are                                                               
having those conversations are not themselves free.                                                                             
MS. RICH  said there  isn't agreement  about whether  federal law                                                               
would  preempt legislation  such as  SB 160.  Given that  lack of                                                               
consensus, the ACLU  believes the courts should  decide the issue                                                               
rather than trying to preempt it legislatively.                                                                                 
She recommended looking  at Portugal's internet plan  to see what                                                               
a world  without net neutrality  looks like. It's a  stark image,                                                               
she said.                                                                                                                       
2:50:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked if a court case was underway.                                                                             
MS. RICH said 22 state  attorneys general have filed suit related                                                               
primarily  to the  FCC  process during  public  comment. It  also                                                               
challenges whether the  FCC would need to create  an entirely new                                                               
regulatory  scheme rather  than just  eliminating the  prior one.                                                               
Mozilla, the Free Press and  others have lawsuits pending waiting                                                               
for  the law  to  take effect  and be  published  on the  federal                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS commented it's likely to take years and years.                                                                  
MS. RICH agreed that was a possibility.                                                                                         
SENATOR  MICCICHE  said  he  supports   net  neutrality  and  the                                                               
resolution but this legislation seems  premature. He asked if she                                                               
would agree that Congress probably supports net neutrality.                                                                     
MS. RICH said  she believes that SB 160  would encourage Congress                                                               
to overturn  the FCC's open  internet order of December  2017. It                                                               
would certainly show the Alaska  delegation that Alaska is united                                                               
on the issue.                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  MICCICHE  opined  that  the  bill  would  be  completely                                                               
unenforceable  outside of  state lines  and the  issue is  larger                                                               
than that.                                                                                                                      
MS.  RICH  agreed  that the  Alaska  Legislature  can't  regulate                                                               
companies that  have no business  in Alaska. Alaskans  would also                                                               
be affected if  GCI or ACS uses Comcast's  cables through peering                                                               
agreements to  transmit Netflix  and other  video to  Alaska. She                                                               
said  states  should  present  a united  front;  30  states  have                                                               
introduced or are contemplating similar legislation.                                                                            
SENATOR  MICCICHE shared  a personal  example to  illustrate that                                                               
internet use  is tracked. He asked  if the ACLU considers  and is                                                               
concerned  that  it's  unconstitutional  under  Alaska's  privacy                                                               
clause. "How  much right do  we have to push  back as a  state on                                                               
those larger privacy issues?"                                                                                                   
MS. RICH  said the ACLU of  Alaska is about to  launch the Alaska                                                               
Privacy Project  that looks  directly at  those issues.  She said                                                               
there are privacy implications with  the way net neutrality would                                                               
be  enforced that  are  relevant  to the  privacy  clause of  the                                                               
constitution.  The  ISP  would  need  to  know  what  people  are                                                               
accessing to be able to block or throttle it.                                                                                   
2:58:14 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO  closed public  testimony on SB  160 and  held the                                                               
bill in committee.                                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 108 ver U.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SSSB 108 Sponsor Statment 1-22-18.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SSSB108 Sectional Analysis 1-18-18.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108SS-DCCED-CBPL-02-08-2018.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Power Point Presentation 2-12-18.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Letter of Support ASMB 2-9-18.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Letter of Support - Foundation Health Partners 2-7-18.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SSSB108 Supporting Document State Med. Licensure Timeframes leg research 10-16-2015.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB160.A.PDF SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB160 Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB160 Sectional Analysis.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB160-DCCED-RCA-02-09-18.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB160-LAW-CIV-02-10-2018.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
SB 160 - AT&T Opposition.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 160
HB 18 ver D.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18 Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18 Sectional Analysis.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18 Summary of Changes.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18-DOR-TAX-2-9-2018-HB 18.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18 Letter of Support - Goucher.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18 Supporting Document - Ketchikan Chamber Flyer.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18 Letter of Support - Seward Chamber of Commerce.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18
HB18 Ketchikan Chamber Letter of Support.pdf SL&C 2/13/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 18