Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

John Thune Wants Review of Communications Law Next Year


(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been reviewing existing communications law with an eye towards an overhaul, and now the ranking Republican on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee says he hopes senators will start a review next year, too.

“It would be a dereliction of duty if Congress did not at least explore whether and how our communications regulations can be modernized,” Thune said Wednesday at a Free State Foundation event. “I hope next year the Senate will follow the example set by the House to begin consideration of what a Communications Act update might look like.”

And any discussion “needs to begin with broadband Internet and the government’s regulatory posture toward it,” he said.

Here’s more from Thune’s talk on why he thinks Congress needs to act to update how the government regulates the Internet, referencing parts of telecommunications law that have been the subject of debate over how the FCC should approach its net neutrality rules:

Neither Title II nor Section 706 of the Telecom Act are appropriate tools to regulate the Internet. The former is outdated and politically corrosive. The latter is legally untested and potentially far too broad. When Congress wrote both provisions it never expected or intended for either to apply to a dynamic and competitive broadband marketplace. Because of this, any Internet regulations issued by the FCC based on either statue will be tied up in courts for years thus creating more uncertainty for businesses and end users, not less. The only way to provide the certainty that ISPs, edge providers, content publishers and end users need and want is for Congress to legislate.

Lawmakers need to “roll up our sleeves” and figure out “how best to promote an open, competitive and free Internet,” he said.

  • Tom Klemesrud

    Senator Thune should not be in the position of advocating for internet regulation since he does not respect people’s free speech rights on the internet. Both Thune and Noem ban their constituent critics from their social media internet pages. The Rapid City newspaper can do this legally — the editors are not bound by the Constitution’s 1st Amentment to not abridge citizens’ free speech, because those editors are not government officials. However, Thune and Noem are government officials using public facilities to curb public dissent. This illegal action disqualifies Mr. Thune from trying to mold the internet for his own interests of using it as a political weapon against the liberal, and science-based points of view — that he is paid handsomely by the US Oligarchs to fight.

    I know something about ISPs (internet service providers) since I was one of the first providers in Los Angeles in 1993, before the World Wide Web. The Scientology criminal cult — whose IRS tax-exemption Mr. Thune oversees, and protects (with their forced abortions on members) — sued me for standing up for users’ free speech rights. (John Thune doesn’t, and will not do this.) The results of rulings in that case RTC v. Netcom became the “safe harbors from liability”, codified into law, that the telephone, cable, and big media companies essentially needed to jump into the pool, bribe politicians — like Thune — and force the little guys out of the industry the little guys built.

    But, doing scorched-earth litigation with the “Church” of Scientology honed my instincts for spotting zealous, fundamentalist religious charlatans and political demagougues; whom cannot exist in 21st-century discourse without denigrating science, and insisting on “intelligent design” — like Thune’s alama mater, the conservative and fundamentalist Bible Institute of Los Angeles, CA. (BIoLA)

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