09.09.14

Judiciary Chairman Leahy Announces Sept. 17 Hg. On Protecting An Open Internet

WASHINGTON (Tuesday, September 9, 2014) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced on Tuesday that he will convene a Judiciary Committee hearing next week to receive testimony about the importance of maintaining a free and open Internet. 

The hearing comes as the Federal Communications Commission approaches the final stages in its work to replace open Internet rules that were struck down by the D.C. Circuit in January’s Verizon v. FCC decision.  Leahy recently joined with Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) in authoring the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act, legislation directing the FCC to ban paid prioritization agreements online.

“Open Internet rules are the Bill of Rights for the online world.  It is crucial that rules are put in place to protect consumers, online innovators, and free speech,” Leahy said.  “Next week's hearing will build on the discussion the committee started in Vermont.  I look forward to hearing from a wide range of stakeholders who can speak firsthand about the impact the FCC's decision will have on the Internet landscape.”

Leahy chaired a field hearing on net neutrality rules in July at the University of Vermont that drew witnesses from small businesses, the Vermont State Librarian, and former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.  In August, Leahy wrote to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, calling on him to hold net neutrality roundtables around the country so that consumers and businesses outside of Washington, D.C., can weigh in on the importance of preserving an open Internet. 

The hearing will be held on Wednesday, September 17, at 10:30 a.m. in Room 216 of the Hart Senate Office Building.  Member statements, witness testimony, and a live webcast will be available online on September 17. 

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