Victory for municipal broadband as Wash. state lawmakers end restrictions

The front of the Washington state Capitol building seen during daytime.

Enlarge / State Capitol building in Olympia, Washington. (credit: Getty Images | traveler1116)

The Washington state legislature has voted to end limits on municipal broadband, and the bill lifting those restrictions now awaits the signature of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee. The state Senate passed the bill Sunday in a 27-22 vote, and the state House passed it on February 23 by a vote of 60-37.

“This bill reverses decades of bad policy—Washington was one of only 18 states with a STATE LAW prohibiting some local governments from offering broadband directly to the public,” Democratic Rep. Drew Hansen, the bill’s lead sponsor, wrote on Twitter. “Long overdue. Thanks to the BIPARTISAN group of Senators who stood up for public broadband today!!”

The Senate vote went mostly along party lines, but one Republican (Brad Hawkins) voted yea and three Democrats (Steve Hobbs, Mark Mullet, and Lisa Wellman) voted nay.

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