Regulation and Subsidies

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Washington Embraces Net Neutrality

 

If federal regulators will not impose net neutrality rules on the Internet, then states will take the lead on this issue. At least, that is what is happening in Washington state.

 

In early March, Gov. Jay Inslee signed a net neutrality bill that passed the state legislature by large margins. This bill would prohibit Internet service providers from blocking content that complies with the law, slowing down or stopping Internet traffic based on content, or allowing companies to offer prioritization for customer who pay more.

 

This legislation essentially codifies the network neutrality regulations overturned by the Federal Communications Commission late last year. The FCC ruled that Congress had not granted the agency statutory power to enact such rules, reversing a decision that the FCC had made during the Obama Administration. Instead, the FCC enacted what it calls a “light touch framework.”

 

Companies affected by the Washington legislation are likely to challenge it in court. Some observers contend that FCC’s action pre-empts state legislation of this type. They say that states cannot usurp federal regulatory authority. Further, they argue that if such regulations were left to states, it would make it difficult for companies to offer services nationwide given the patchwork of different rules they would face.

 

Supporters of the Washington bill counter that the FCC ruled that it did not have authority to regulate the Internet in this way, so states are free to act. They say that such rules are essential to an open Internet, and the federal government has left no option but to pursue this issue in state legislatures.

 

Legislators in other states will be watching what happens with the Washington law. There are similar proposals being considered across the country. While some states may act before any legal challenges over the Washington legislation are complete, others will wait to see what the judiciary has to say. If this law is held to be legal, then there will likely be a number of other states that will enact similar measures.

 

Do you think that states should enact net neutrality legislation? Or do you think that different laws across the nation will hamper online innovation?

 

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality Rules

 

One of the most controversial policy votes of the year took place this week, but it didn’t happen in Congress. Instead, it happened at a regulatory agency – the Federal Communications Commission. Under the leadership of Chairman Ajit Pai, the commissioners voted 3-2 to repeal “net neutrality” regulations. Depending on who you ask, this move will signal the death of the Internet as we know it or it is the federal government removing overbearing regulations that stiffle innovation.

 

The regulations in question date to 2015, when the FCC decided to regulate Internet service providers more stringently. In essence, the agency at that time classified the services they provide as a public utility, largely forcing providers not to discriminate in pricing, content, and the management of the network.

 

Not surprisingly, Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T and Comcast opposed this new regulation. They did not like the fact that they were constrained from treating different types of customers differently when it came to pricing or network management. Internet content companies, such as Facebook and Twiter, lobbied hard for the regulation, seeing an advantage in being protected from higher charges when they use far more bandwidth than other websites or apps.

 

This new rule change does not remove federal oversight from the Internet. In fact, the rule mandates transparency for network management practices. The Federal Trade Commission also regulates Internet service providers. But it does lessen the ability of the government to set rules proactively that constrain Internet service providers.

 

Do you think the FCC should have maintained “net neutrality” rules to protect consumers? Or does rolling back this rule from 2015 give freedom for companies to innovate in ways that will serve customers better?

 

Tennessee Key Votes – Alcohol and Drugs


Check out these key votes made by elected officials in Tennessee earlier this year, and go to 
www.votespotter.com to sign up and see how your elected officials voted on these and other issues that impact your daily life.

 

House Bill 1287, Allow distilleries to sell drinks: Passed 73 to 17 in the House on April 10 and 23 to 3 in the Senate on April 24

To allow distilleries to sell drinks to customers for consumption on the distillery’s premises.

 

House Bill 109, Reduce penalty for marijuana possession: Failed 44 to 45 in the House on April 10

To make it a misdemeanor to possess or sell under one ounce of marijuana. Under current law, these are felonies.

 

House Bill 547, Allow wineries to sell more types of wine: Passed 66 to 14 in the House on April 20 and 28 to 2 in the Senate on April 24

To allow a winery to purchase wine from another winery in Tennessee or another state and sell or serve it.

 

Senate Bill 806, Allow needle exchange programs: Passed 26 to 0 in the Senate on May 4 and 71 to 17 in the House on May 3

To allow nonprofits to operate needle exchange programs for opioid users as well as test these users for health problems.

 

Senate Bill 798, Update state alcohol laws: Passed 27 to 0 in the Senate on April 10 and 64 to 21 in the House on May 1

To levy a $10,000 fine on an establishment for its second citation for selling alcohol to a minor instead of revoking the alcohol license, to allow hotels to sell sealed packages of alcohol, to mandate the inclusion of liquor-by-the-drink taxes on menus, and to make other changes to the state’s alcohol laws.

 

House Bill 173, Pre-empt local drug laws: Passed 65 to 28 in the House on March 23 and 26 to 5 in the Senate on March 27

To clarify that state law pre-empts any local government laws for conduct involving drugs. In essence, this bill clarifies that local governments cannot enact local drug laws that conflict with state law.

 

Michigan House Bill 4559

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Michigan, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Michigan House Bill 4559, Permit Beer and Wine Cartel Members to Hold Tastings for Staff: Passed 37 to 0 in the state Senate on June 22, 2017.

 

To permit the handful of members in the state-protected beer and wine wholesale and distribution cartel to hold educational product sampling sessions for employees.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Michigan House Bill 4559!

 

 

Arizona Senate Bill 1186

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Arizona, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 1186, Update Fingerprinting and Background Check Laws for Alarm Installers: Passed 56 to 0 in the state House on April 20, 2017.

 

To modify fingerprinting and background check requirements for application and renewal of state licences for alarm installers eliminate gaps in oversight, and to change the renewal period from 2 years to 3.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Arizona Senate Bill 1186!

 

 

Nevada Changes Law to Deal with Marijuana Shortage

 

Recreational marijuana use became legal in Nevada in early July. Unfortunately for Nevadans who wanted a legal high, the state’s distribution system caused supply to lag behind demand. Now regulators are relaxing rules in order to ensure a steady flow of weed.

 

Initially, state law only allowed alcohol wholesalers to distribute marijuana to retail outlets around the state. Nevadans’ demand for marijuana overwhelmed this system, however. There were over 40,000 transactions in the first few days of legalization, leading to shortages.

 

This prompted Gov. Brian Sandoval to declare a state of emergency. The state tax commission met and set new rules so that entities other than alcohol wholesalers could distribute marijuana. They hope that this will alleviate problems with retail outlets running low.

 

While Nevada officials had a rough time getting their system up and running, it does show that the state stands to reap significant tax revenue by allowing recreational marijuana use. The state imposes a 15% tax on wholesalers and a 10% tax on retail sales. The state projects that this will lead to $100 million in new tax revenue.

 

This influx of revenue could tempt lawmakers in other states to consider following the lead of Nevada and other states that legalize and tax recreational marijuana use.

 

Do you think that marijuana should be legal? Or do you support laws that make it illegal for people to use the drug recreationally?

 

Ohio House Bill 132

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Ohio, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Ohio House Bill 132, Regulate Fantasy Sports Betting: Passed 82 to 15 in the state House on May 24, 2017. 

 

To require the Ohio Casino Control Commission to investigate, license, penalize, and regulate anyone conducting or participating in a fantasy sports league.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Ohio House Bill 132!

 

 

Tennessee House Bill 6

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Tennessee, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Tennessee House Bill 6, Permit Soccer Subsidies: Passed 87 to 2 in the state House on March 30, 2017.

 

To allow sales tax revenue derived from major league soccer to be allocated to the municipality in which the soccer team is located. In effect, this bill would allow Nashville to use sales tax revenue to subsidize a major league soccer stadium.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Tennessee House Bill 6!

 

 

Iowa Senate Bill 502

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Iowa, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 502, To Raise a State-Imposed Cap on Fees Issued by Creditors: Passed 49 to 0 in the state Senate on April 12, 2017.

 

This measure modifies several aspects of state law governing credit cards, including raising the limit on overdraft fees (bounced checks) from $15 to $30. It also allows the fee for exceeding a credit limit to go from $15 to $30. It also increases the amount that a person can receive from a civil action against a credit issuer from a range of $100 to $1,000 to a range of $200 to $2,000.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Iowa Senate Bill 502!

 

 

Virginia Senate Bill 865

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Virginia, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 865, Override Veto of Bill Allowing Family Members to Give Minors Knives: Failed 20 to 20 in the state Senate on April 5, 2017

 

To override the governor’s veto of a bill allowing family members to transfer a dirk, switchblade knife, or Bowie knife to a minor engaged in sporting event or activity.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Virginia Senate Bill 865! 

 

 

Tennessee House Bill 6

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Tennessee, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 6, Permit Soccer Subsidies: Passed 87 to 2 in the state House on March 30, 2017.

 

To allow sales tax revenue derived from major league soccer to be allocated to the municipality in which the soccer team is located. In effect, this bill would allow Nashville to use sales tax revenue to subsidize a major league soccer stadium.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Tennessee House Bill 6!

 

 

Pennsylvania House Bill 176

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Pennsylvania, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 176, Exempt Roadside Stands From Construction Code: Passed 48 to 0 in the state Senate on July 10, 2017. 

 

To allow roadside stands selling seasonal agricultural products to operate without being forced to comply with the state’s construction code.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Pennsylvania House Bill 176!

 

 

New Hampshire House Bill 176

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in New Hampshire, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 176, Kill Bill to Deregulate Big Cigar Bars: Passed 200 to 92 in the state House on February 9, 2017. 

 

To end consideration of a bill to limit the current requirement that a cigar bar generate at least 60 percent of its revenue from cigar-related sales to those small businesses that generate less than $75,000 in annual revenue.  A yes vote kills the bill for the legislative year.

 

Comment below to share what you think of New Hampshire House Bill 176!

 

 

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 431

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Pennsylvania, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 431, Increase Fines for Littering: Passed 49 to 0 in the state Senate on July 8, 2017. 

 

To increase the fine for a first-time littering conviction from $300 to $1,000 and require that the offender pick up litter between 5 and 50 hours. For a second offense an offender could pay up to $2,000 and spend 100 hours picking up litte

 

Comment below to share what you think of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 431!

 

 

 

 

Ohio Senate Bill 2

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Ohio, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 2, Cleanup of Landfill Facilities and Properties: Passed 33 to 0 in the state Senate on March 15, 2017.

 

To authorize the Director of Environmental Protection to take actions to abate pollution or contamination at a location where hazardous waste was disposed, and to create processes to work with property owners and responsible parties to fund and complete such remediation projects.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Ohio Senate Bill 2!

 

 

Michigan Senate Bill 242

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Michigan, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 242, Authorize Giving State Revenue to Chinese Company and Some Others: Passed 71 to 35 in the state House on July 12, 2017.

To authorize giving up to $200 million of state revenue to certain business owners, in particular a Chinese company said to be involved in iPhone manufacture. Earlier this year the Legislature also authorized up to $1.8 billion in state payments benefiting Detroit developer Dan Gilbert and possibly some others.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Michigan Senate Bill 242!

 

 

Nevada Senate Bill 440

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Nevada, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 440, Require transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft, to obtain written agreements from major hotels before drivers may pick up passengers at these locations: Passed 32 to 8 in the state Senate on June 1, 2015.

Require transportation network companies, like Uber and Lyft, to obtain written agreements from major hotels before drivers may pick up passengers at these locations

 

Comment below to share what you think of Nevada Senate Bill 440!

 

 

Michigan Senate Bill 245

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Michigan, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 245, Repeal Switchblade Ban: Passed 106 to 1 in the state House on June 20th, 2017

 

To repeal the state law against owning, selling or possessing a switchblade knife, “the blade or blades of which can be opened by the flick of a button.” Reportedly the ban is outdated and unevenly enforced.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Michigan Senate Bill 245!

Florida House Bill 141

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Florida, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

House Bill 141, Expand the number of bottles craft distilleries can sell: Passed 114 to 2 in the state House on April 26, 2017 and passed 37 to 0 in the state Senate May 5, 2017

 

To allow craft distilleries to sell six individual containers of each product to customers per year from their gift shop. Currently, craft distilleries can sell two individual containers of each product per customer.

 

Comment below to share what you think of Florida House Bill 141!

 

Virginia Senate Bill 1470

 

Check out this key bill voted on by elected officials in Virginia, check-in to the VoteSpotter app to see how your legislators voted, and comment below to share what you think!

 

Senate Bill 1470, Reinstate coal production subsidy: Passed 25 to 15 in the state Senate on February 3, 2017 and 68 to 29 in the state House on February 15, 2017*

 

To reinstate a tax credit program for coal production and employment, with a limit of $7.3 million a year. The program would last until 2022.

 

*Note: the governor vetoed this bill and the state Senate failed 20 to 20 to override on April 5, 2017

 

Comment below to share what you think of Virginia Senate Bill 1470!

 

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