Saturday, June 9, 2018

Federal Legislative Report 115-09

In mid-May, the Senate voted 52-47 to approve a resolution (S.J. Res. 52) that would overturn the Federal Communications Commissions’ December 2017 decision to eliminate the agency’s Net Neutrality regulations.   That decision ends net neutrality protections on June 11. Three Republican Senators joined all Democrats in voting to reverse the FCC’s decision.

The elimination of the net neutrality regulations raises several concerns for school districts and other education stakeholders. First, broadband companies may begin charging content providers new fees to deliver digital learning content -- and those costs may be passed on to schools. Second, new entrants into the education technology market may be blocked or have their services slowed by broadband providers that want to feature their own services or applications, or the services of other companies willing to pay for preferential treatment. Third, districts that lack market power -- especially rural and low-income communities served by a single broadband provider -- may be exposed to higher costs and degraded service.

The debate now moves to the House where 166 members are cosponsoring a similar resolution, H.J. Res. 129. See FLR 115-07 for additional information on this issue.

There continues to be no guidance, or additional information, available regarding the Title IV money designated in the Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations for school safety grants. Information will be disseminated as soon as it is available.

Click here to view the entire Federal Legislative Report 115-09, including updates on the Opioid Crises Response Act and a new arts education grant program.