Will new litigation affect Beto O’Rourke’s campaign? With election polls opening up for early voting last week, a one week left of campaigning and the new Telephone Consumer Protection Act (the “TCPA”) litigation to defend, it is unlikely that Beto O’Rourke will be slowing down any time soon. O’Rourke has made it his mission to reach all voters, not just those residing in the three major cities: Austin, Houston and Dallas. New litigation filed October 19, 2018, raises the question whether “Beto for Texas” reached those voters in violation of the TCPA and the recent Marks v. Crunch decision. The litigation will address whether the 5th Circuit will implement Marks expansive definition of an “automated telephone dialing system.”
On November 21, 2017, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced his intent to roll back utility-style regulations on internet service providers promulgated in 2015. This issue will be called for a vote on December 14 at the FCC’s open meeting. President Obama pressured the FCC to promulgate rules to regulate the internet as a public utility and preserve “net neutrality.” The FCC’s proposed repeal of these rules would restore internet service provider regulations to the framework established by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This recent proposal has been divisive along party lines, and the FCC has reported receiving more than 22 million comments.
On May 18, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 2-1 to initiate the process of rolling back net neutrality provisions put in place by the Obama administration designed to keep the Internet open and fair. The FCC Chairman’s proposal will end the “utility-style strict regulatory approach that gives government control of the Internet.” The current FCC intends to implement market-based policies designed to preserve Internet freedom and reverse declining infrastructure investment, innovation, and options for consumers it argues resulted from the FCC’s actions in 2015.